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Sudan's Bashir Makes First Comments on Ongoing Protests

A fire is seen burning in a street during protests against price increases in Atbara, Nile River state, northeastern Sudan, Dec. 20, 2018.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has made his first public comments about ongoing anti-government protests, urging citizens to reject what he called "attempts to plant frustration."

More demonstrations took place Monday in Jazeera state, south of Khartoum, where Bashir is scheduled to make a visit on Tuesday.

The protests began nearly a week ago after the government tripled bread prices.According to the official Sudan News Agency, Bashir said Monday that the state "will continue to carry out economic reforms to ensure decent living of the citizens."

Sudanese doctors alongside professionals from other sectors went on strike Monday in support of the protests.

A committee of doctors said in a statement that it would submit a formal demand to the president to step down Tuesday "in response to the uprising by the Sudanese people," the French Press Agency reported.

Police have clashed with protesters in several locations over the past six days. The reported death toll from the violence ranges from eight to 22.

Government officials blame the protests on what they call infiltrators and saboteurs.

A tweet sent out by the state-run news agency says the Sudanese military "stands behind its leadership" and will safeguard the country's security and safety and honor.

Bashir seized power in a 1989 Islamist-led coup that ousted democratically-elected Sadeq al-Mahdi, who is now Sudan's opposition leader.In the past, he has shown little tolerance for dissent.