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Sudan protesters rally for fifth day outside army HQ: witnesses

KHARTOUM,  Thousands of Sudanese protesters pressed on with their campaign against President Omar al-Bashir’s rule for a fifth day outside the army headquarters in the capital on Wednesday, witnesses said.

Crowds of demonstrators continued to throng the sprawling complex through the night, singing and dancing to the tunes of revolutionary songs, witnesses said.

“The night passed peacefully without any incident,” said a protester who had spent the entire night at the complex.

“We believe that the support from the soldiers on the ground and now the police is definitely growing.”

Demonstrators have braved regular volleys of tear gas from members of the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service since they began camping at the army headquarters on April 6, protest organisers say.

ARMY PROTECTION

But for the first time they did not face any “threat” from security agents during the night, said the protester who did not want to be named for security reasons.

“The soldiers at the complex are also angry after the attacks of tear gas and are determined to prevent them,” another demonstrator told AFP.

Witnesses said the troops had stationed several vehicles loaded with machine-guns at the gates of the complex.

On Tuesday security agents had to abort their bids to disperse the crowds when soldiers fired gunshots in the air to counter incoming volleys of tear gas from security agents.

“It seems the police too are now with us,” said the protester.

“When we were coming to the army building last night we saw many policemen but they did not stop us.”

The police on Tuesday ordered its personnel to avoid intervening against the demonstrators.

“We call on God to preserve the security and calm of our country … and to unite the Sudanese people… for an agreement which would support the peaceful transition of power,” a police spokesman said in a statement.

FREE FOOD

On Wednesday protesters were raising funds to ensure a regular supply of food and water for the crowd.

“Many shop owners and businessmen have offered us free supplies,” said another demonstrator.

Protest organisers launched their latest campaign on April 6 as part of a months-long movement against Bashir’s 30-year rule.

Demonstrations first erupted on December 19 in response to a government decision to triple the price of bread.

But they quickly morphed into a nationwide campaign against Bashir’s rule with rallies held across cities, towns and villages.

Bashir has remained defiant, and imposed a slew of tough measures including a state of emergency across the country.

Officials say 38 people have died in protest-related violence so far.

By AFP

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