Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir on International Women’s Day on Friday ordered the release of all women arrested in connection with anti-government demonstrations, hours after protesters marched in the two largest cities.
Sudan has seen near-daily protests against Bashir since Dec. 19. The demonstrations were triggered by price increases and cash shortages but developed into the most sustained challenge to Bashir since he took power in a military coup three decades ago.
Earlier, hundreds of protesters chanted anti-government slogans after leaving Friday prayers at a major mosque linked to the opposition Umma party in the city of Omdurman, near Sudan’s capital, drawing tear-gas volleys from police, eyewitnesses said.
Last month Bashir declared a state of emergency, dissolved the central government, replaced state governors with security officials, expanded police powers and banned unlicensed public gatherings.
That has not stopped the protesters, hundreds of whom also demonstrated on Thursday under a women’s day theme.
Since the emergency measures came into effect last month, courts have been trying protesters in evening sessions, sparking more rallies outside court buildings.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges of masterminding genocide in the Darfur region, which he denies. He has been lobbying for Sudan to be removed from a list of countries Washington considers state sponsors of terrorism.
The listing has blocked the investment and financial aid that Sudan was hoping for when the United States lifted sanctions in 2017, economists say.
Sudan has been rapidly expanding its money supply in an attempt to finance its budget deficit, causing spiraling inflation and a steep decline in the value of its currency.