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Sudan police fire tear gas at Khartoum protesters as demos spread to Darfur

Officers target demonstrations in Sudan's capital, as nearly a month after they began, protests against President Omar al-Bashir spread to Darfur
At least 40 protesters have been killed by Sudanese forces since the beginning of demonstrations, according to Human Rights Watch (Reuters/File)

Sudanese police fired tear gas at crowds of anti-government protesters in Khartoum on Sunday, as organisers called for nationwide rallies against President Omar al-Bashir.

Protesters chanting "peace, peace" and "revolution is the people's choice" took to the streets in the capital's district of Bahari, but were quickly confronted by riot police, witnesses told AFP news agency.

Demonstrations also broke out for the first time on Sunday in the western region of Darfur, after calls for rallies there by the Sudanese Professionals' Association, which has spearheaded the action.

Protests that first erupted on 19 December over a government decision to triple the price of bread have swiftly escalated into nationwide rallies, widely seen as the largest in Bashir's three-decade rule.

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Sudanese authorities say the protests have left 24 people dead, while Human Rights Watch has put the death toll at 40, including children and medical staff.

On Sunday, protesters in Khartoum were seen carrying the Sudanese flag as others held banners bearing the words "peace, justice, freedom," which has become a key slogan in the rallies.

Protest organisers have called for near daily demonstrations across the country against Bashir this week, calling it a "Week of Uprising".

Darfur demonstrations

On Sunday, protesters took to the streets of El-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state, in the first demonstration of its kind in Darfur since the unrest began.

Darfur has been beset by conflict since 2003, with the government’s brutal repression of rebel groups and civilians in the region earning Bashir an indictment for war crimes at the International Criminal Court.

Sudan's National Human Rights Commission, the top governmental human rights body, condemned the killing "by bullets" of protesters on Friday.

The commission called on authorities to bring those responsible to justice, while stopping short of identifying those who fired the live ammunition, or may have ordered its use against demonstrators.

Bashir, who has been in power for decades, has so far resisted calls for his resignation, accusing Western countries and other outside forces of orchestrating the ongoing protests against his rule and seeking to destabilise the country.