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KHARTOUM - 30 Dec 2019

Sudan's Bashir promises police better welfare amid protests

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir said he is looking for way to reform the pay structures for the police on Sunday after days of anti-government protests.

Angry citizens have taken to the streets in several cities since 19 December, leading to a crackdown in which dozens of protesters have been killed. Police also used tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters.

The Association of Sudanese Professionals agreed to "push for new protests" on Monday, the eve of Sudan’s 63rd anniversary of independence.

Speaking during a meeting with the police leadership at Burri, President Bashir said his government plans to improve quality of life in the police service. He also vowed that the government will construct housing projects for the uniformed personnel.

“With respect to the issue of salaries, we have a policy on the pay structures… We intend to increase the salaries every year to match with the living condition,” he said.

He commended the police for carrying out their duties in a professional way and in accordance with the law. He urged the police to proactively work to maintain security and ensure the safety of the general public, saying Sudan wouldn’t kneel down to any agent.

Bashir, who has governed Sudan since 1989, said that the government will continue with economic reforms to improve the lives of its citizens, pointing out that the country’s battered economy will recover soon.

The Sudanese leader stressed that he would not allow his country to slide into lawlessness, saying violence and sabotage will not solve the country’s economic crisis.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday expressed alarm at the escalating violence and urged Sudanese authorities to investigate deaths during demonstrations over rising food prices.

While the government of Sudan puts the death toll from the protests at 19, the London-based rights group Amnesty International says at least 37 people have been killed in the protests.