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Dozens Beaten, Arrested at Sudan Anti-Government Rally


Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir talks before the final declaration of the result of the referendum at the Republican Palace in Khartoum, February 7, 2011 (file photo)

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir talks before the final declaration of the result of the referendum at the Republican Palace in Khartoum, February 7, 2011 (file photo)

Sudanese security forces have beaten and arrested dozens of protesters at an anti-government rally in downtown Khartoum.

Witnesses say about 500 police, many wielding batons, moved in against the protesters Wednesday soon after the rally began in Khartoum's Abu Janzeer square.

In the short time they demonstrated, the protesters called for the downfall of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

A spokeswoman for the opposition Umma party, Mariam al-Mahdi, said police arrested three organizers ahead of the rally, one from the Baath party and two from the Communist party.

A spokesman for an opposition coalition called National Consensus Forces, Farouk Abu Issa, said the people will keep fighting for change and democracy, just like they did in Egypt and Tunisia.

The number of anti-government rallies has increased in Sudan since the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, but Sudanese security forces have moved in quickly to stop them.

On Tuesday, police beat and arrested more than 40 women as they tried to stage a rally outside the capital. The women gathered in Omdurman to protest against rape and human rights abuses. They also wanted to highlight the case of a female activist who was allegedly raped after her arrest last month.

Bashir has ruled Sudan since seizing power in a 1989 coup. He won re-election last April in polls that U.S. and European observers said failed to meet international standards.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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