Sudan: Bashir promises economic progress in 2019 and protests continue
Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir has promised economic progress in early 2019 as protests continue across much of the country.
Police have fired tear gas and live ammunition upon crowds with at least 19 people having been killed during unrest – although rights groups say the death toll is significantly higher. The protests initially started over increasing food prices and shortages but after two weeks of ongoing demonstrations, the list of grievances is growing and demands for Bashir to retire are getting louder.
Bashir promises economic improvements
In a speech marking 63 years of Sudanese independence, President Bashir said the country’s 2019 budget will help minimise the impact of an ongoing economic crisis. The president said this year’s budget is “aimed at lessening people’s suffering by maintaining subsidies on certain goods and items, raising salaries, and refraining from tax burdens.”
He also referred to strategic partnerships with China, Russia and Gulf states to help stimulate the country’s struggling economy.
Protests were held in various parts of Sudan on December 19 and quickly developed into anti-governmental rallies. The demonstrations have continued for two weeks straight now and security forces have opened fire upon crowds on multiple occasions.
On Monday, security forces fired tear gas and bullets at hundreds of people attempting to march to the palace, demanding Bashir’s resignation. Calls for the president to step down and appoint an interim government until an election can be held are growing.
Featured image: By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt/Released – DefenseImagery.mil, VIRIN 090131-N-0506A-342, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6058553