Thousands protest as Sudan officials promise cash

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Thousands of Sudanese protesters have taken to the streets of the capital Khartoum, renewing calls for their longtime autocratic president to resign after dozens of protesters were killed in a week of demonstrations sparked by austerity measures.

The government, which has imposed a media blackout, moved to appease the rancor with cash, saying it would distribute cash to half a million families to offset higher fuel and food prices in a country where nearly half the population lives below the poverty line.

The street demonstrations, which began after subsides were lifted last week, have been the most widespread in Sudan since Omar al-Bashir seized power 24 years ago.

Public discontent had been growing over failed economic and political policies that led South Sudan to break off and became an independent state in 2011, taking approximately three quarters of Sudan’s oil production with it. Critics also blamed al-Bashir for draining the country’s coffers by battling armed rebel movements in three different fronts inside the country.

In a latest blow to freedom of the press, Sudanese authorities also forced the country’s largest daily newspaper to stop printing, according to the paper’s website.

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