KHARTOUM Hundreds of supporters of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir gathered in Khartoum on Wednesday to support the government, facing a protest movement in recent weeks, media reports said.
At the same time, a new opposition rally to al-Bashir is scheduled to take place on the streets of the Sudanese capital on Wednesday, according to the same sources The rally in support of al-Bashir comes after the president Tuesday accused "plotters" of provoking the violence that sparked the anti-government protests sparked on December 19 by rising bread prices.
Hundreds of riot police, soldiers, security guards, some armed with assault rifles, were deployed around pro-al-Bashir protesters, according to local press correspondents.
Men, women and children wearing banners supporting President al-Bashir arrived Wednesday morning by bus, the source said. Since December 19, protests against high cost of living and shortages have quickly turned into a movement against government.
Demonstrations began in several towns and villages before reaching the capital Khartoum, with several buildings and offices of Mr. Al-Bashir's National Congress Party (NCP) having been set on fire. At least 19 people, including two members of the security forces, have been killed and more than 800 demonstrators have been arrested since the start of the protest, according to the authorities.