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Protests Intensify in Sudan, Threatening Longtime President



The protests, triggered by a sharp increase in the prices of bread and other staples, have spread throughout the country, with some demonstrators borrowing chants calling for the president of the president who were made popular by the Arab Spring. Roaring crowds have more than a dozen police bases and firebombed offices of Mr. Bashir's ruling National Congress Party in several cities

The demonstrations have torn into the ruling party, with some prominent members openly backing the protesters.

"Bashir's position has never been that weak," said Adeline Van Houtte, an analyst with The Economist Intelligence Unit. "If the security forces are the balance of power is shifting, they cannot be guaranteed." More than 40 demonstrators have been killed in recent weeks, according to Amnesty International, while over 1

,000 others have been detained. Security forces have stormed hospitals in the capital Khartoum, spraying tear gas and arresting wounded protesters and their doctors. "Our next target is to completely paralyze the regime," said Gibril Ibrahim, leader of the opposition Justice and Equality Movement, one of the groups participating in the protests. "Police must stop violent attacks against peaceful protesters."

Mr. Bashir, who is wanted in the Hague for war crimes in the rest of Darfur region, has sought to unrest as the work of outsiders and scoffed at calls to step down. Parliament, which is dominated by the ruling party, said it is pushing ahead with plans to change the constitution to allow the president to stay in power beyond his present term, which expires in 2020.

 Antigovernment protesters rally in Khartoum, Sudan on Sunday. A large march to the presidential palace is planned for Thursday

Antigovernment protesters rally in Khartoum, Sudan on Sunday. A large march to the presidential palace in the capital is planned for Thursday.


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        / Associated Press
          

"The government of Sudan cannot be changed by protests or outside forces," Mr. Bashir duty rally in Darfur Monday. "The only trump administration started talks with the government to remove Sudan from its list of states sponsoring terrorism, the protests are the most persistent popular challenge to Mr. Bashir since he took power in a 1989 coup – though the president and his security apparatus have faced protests before, including in 2013, when over 200 people were killed.

Widespread use of virtual private networks, or VPNs, has allowed the internet to remain a rallying space for protesters despite the shutdowns, with graphic images and videos of those wounded or killed by protesters being shared by the thousands. on trial for damaging property.

A large march to the presidential palace in Khartoum is slated for Thursday, in coordination with similar processions across the country.

The country's top highlighting failure to recover from the 2011 secession of South Sudan which took with it some 75% or national oil output. Many of them have to go for hours to buy bread or gas, and ATMs routinely run out of cash.

Mr. Bashir’s promises to overhaul the ailing economy, including though a new financial stimulus program, have failed to appease the protesters. Annual inflation was 70% in December, and government debt is estimated to have reached 168% of the gross domestic product at the end of 2018, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Write to Nicholas Bariyo at nicholas.bariyo@wsj.com


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