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Sudanese rally to urge release of women protesters, clash with police

Police in Sudan have clashed with anti-government demonstrators demanding the release of female political prisoners.

Police used tear gas on Sunday to disperse hundreds of protesters who marched on a women’s prison in Omdurman — the twin city of the capital, Khartoum — calling for the release of female detainees arrested by police in earlier anti-government protests.

“We are fighters, we will complete our mission,” the protesters chanted while the women ululated and men flashed the victory sign, witnesses said, and as they rallied to call for the release of the women who had been arrested by police in previous demonstrations against the long-time President Omar al-Bashir.

After a first demonstration was dispersed, the protesters launched a second rally in another area of the town. Protesters also staged a brief rally in a district of Khartoum but were swiftly dispersed by police.

A government decision late last year to triple the price of bread has triggered ongoing protests in Sudan.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which is spearheading the protest campaign, said it organized the Sunday march.

The SPA, an umbrella body of doctors, engineers and teachers, called the Sunday march the “Rally for Women Detainees.”

“Women are taking the lead in the protest movement,” a female protester taking part in the Sunday rally told AFP, without revealing her name for security reasons. “The SPA has called today’s march in honor of female detainees and this will inspire us to continue until we achieve success.”

Bashir on Wednesday pinned the blame for the unrest in part on Sudan’s decades-old public order law but also acknowledged that growing economic hardships had angered the youth and sent them out into the streets.

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