Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir promised “real reforms” on Tuesday after days of public protests marking the biggest challenge facing his rule since he has come to power.
As demonstrations sparked by a hike in bread prices entered the sixth day, doctors went on strike in a country beset by economic woes.
Bashir responded by vowing to “take real reforms to guarantee a decent life for citizens,” in quotes reported by Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA).
The president’s pledge comes after the protest movement spread to around a dozen cities since it began on 19 December, after the government tripled the price of bread.
Some 600 residents in the city of Um Rawaba, 200 km southwest of Khartoum, gathered in the market chanting “the people want the fall of the regime,” AFP reported.
SUNA reported Sunday that authorities had arrested a “cell of saboteurs” that planned “acts of vandalism in the capital.”
Meanwhile, Sudan’s military pledged its support for President Bashir. “The armed forces assert that it stands behind its leadership and its keen interest in safeguarding the people’s achievements and the nation’s security, safety along with its blood, honour, and assets,” a military statement read.
President Bashir has long been a member of Sudan’s military establishment, which has dominated the country in the last six decades since independence in 1956.
He came to power after he joined forces with Islamists in a 1989 military coup which toppled a freely-elected but largely ineffective government.