2 killed amid anti-govt protests in Sudan

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, in power since 1989, has defied calls for him to step down.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, in power since 1989, has defied calls for him to step down.

Two people have been killed as police in Sudan's capital of Khartoum used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of protesters who were calling for long-time President Omar al-Bashir to step down.

One of the two killed demonstrators was a child, a independent doctors' association said on Thursday. More than 10 people were injured.

A dpa reporter saw many arrests.

One eyewitness said there were more than 1000 protesters in the Burri neighbourhood of Khartoum who were chanting slogans such as "Freedom, peace, justice and revolution are the people's choice."

Protests have been ongoing for about four weeks and initially started after a sharp hike in bread and fuel prices. In early January, the Interior Ministry said over 800 demonstrators had been arrested.

Human rights organisations say dozens of people have been killed in clashes with security forces during the protests.

The government has confirmed the deaths of 24 people in clashes, though it's likely higher, the United Nations said on Thursday.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expressed concern over "excessive force" used by security forces in Sudan.

"A repressive response can only worsen grievances," she added.

The oil-rich country's economy was badly affected when it split with South Sudan in 2011, and the government is currently facing an economic crisis while also battling several rebel groups.

Australian Associated Press