Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir greets his supporters at a rally in Khartoum, Sudan, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir greets his supporters at a rally in Khartoum, Sudan, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.

Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir told a rally of thousands of supporters on Wednesday he would stay in power, as protesters massed a few miles away calling for him to quit over an economic crisis.

A defiant Bashir challenged his opponents to beat him at the ballot box and blamed unnamed foreign powers for provoking weeks of almost daily protests prompted by bread and currency shortages.

“(To) those who are seeking power, there is one way which is in the ballot box, through free and fair elections,” said Bashir, who opened and closed his address dancing to patriotic music and waving his cane in the air.

Demonstrators chant slogans as they march along the street during anti-government protests in Khartoum, Sudan, Dec. 25, 2018.
Sudan Security Forces Disperse Hundreds in Al-Qadarif
Sudanese security forces fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters in the eastern city of al-Qadarif, witnesses said, in what was one of the largest demonstrations the country has seen in recent weeks.The protests against price rises and other economic hardships that began on Dec.

Across the River Nile in Omdurman, witnesses said security forces used tear gas to break up a demonstration of more than 200 people, some of whom chanted: “Freedom, freedom, peaceful against the thieves”.

Witnesses said policemen chased demonstrators into side roads, from where they regrouped to resume their protest. Hundreds also blocked a main road, witnesses said.

Protests over rising bread prices and currency shortages began on Dec. 19 in the northern city of Atbara and soon spread and turned into demonstrations against Bashir.

Demonstrators run from teargas lobbed to disperse them as they march along the street during anti-government protests in Khartoum, Sudan, Dec. 25, 2018.
Demonstrator: Sudanese Government Stepping Up Violent Efforts to Quell Protests
Sudan's government is stepping up violent efforts to quell widespread protests in the country, according to a demonstrator interviewed on a VOA program.  Khartoum protester Nour El Din told VOA's South Sudan in Focus on Monday that police "are hunting us, and they are using their guns, even inside houses." He asked that his full name not be used in this story. El Din, a mining engineer who attended protests in the Sudanese capital over the weekend, said the protests were organized by the Sudanese…

A former army general who overthrew the elected government in 1989, Bashir has since repeatedly won elections which his opponents have challenged as neither fair nor free.

“MUTINY AND WAR”

On Wednesday, Bashir stood on an open-air stage in central Khartoum’s Green Square and told his supporters that foreign enemies were trying to break Sudan.

“There was the war, mutiny and war ... They besieged us economically to make Sudan kneel down and they are trying to humiliate us with a small amount of wheat, petrol and dollars,” Bashir said during the rally organized by his ruling party.

“But our pride is more valuable than the dollar,” he told the crowd of flag-waving supporters.

Sudanese authorities say at least 19 people, including two security officers, have died in the protests. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say the toll is twice as high.

Sudanese protesters chant slogans during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Khartoum, Jan. 6, 2019.
Pro-Bashir Rally as Sudan Says 800 Protesters Arrested
More than 800 protesters have been arrested in anti-government demonstrations held across Sudan since last month, a minister said Monday, as hundreds gathered at a rally backing President Omar al-Bashir. Deadly protests have rocked Sudan since December 19, when unrest first broke out over a government decision to raise the price of bread. Authorities say at least 19 people including two security personnel have been killed in clashes during the demonstrations, but rights group Amnesty International…

Sudan has slid deeper into economic crisis since the southern part of the country seceded after a referendum in 2011, taking away much of the country’s oil resources.

The crisis has deepened further since last year, when the country saw some brief protests over bread shortages.

The United States lifted 20-year-old trade sanctions on Sudan in October 2017. But many investors have continued to shun a country still listed by Washington as a state sponsor of terrorism, whose president is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges of masterminding genocide in Darfur - charges he dismisses.