Sudanese police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at worshippers who were trying to leave Wad Nubawi mosque in Omdurman to demonstrate after Friday prayers, activists have reported.
According to witnesses, protesters were attacked by police agents as soon as they stepped outside the mosque's courtyard. Demonstrators reportedly retaliated by throwing rocks. Inside the mosque worshippers chanted freedom slogans. According to "super mojok", many protesters suffered from breathing difficulties due to tear gas.
According to Egyptian journalist Salma el Wardany, who was deported from Sudan last week after covering the protests, the Al Jazeera crew, who is currently on the ground, was briefly detained by National Intelligence Security Services agents (NISS).
Riot police surrounded mosques in Omdurman and Bahri in anticipation of Friday's protests. According to Al Jazeera journalist Zeina Khodr "Intelligence agents were in almost every street around Omdurman."
In Bahri witnesses also reported waves of arrests and a heavy police presence.
On June 16, Sudanese students took to the streets of Khartoum after President Omar Al-Bashir announced a series of austerity measures aimed at reducing the government $2,4bn budget deficit. The movement gained momentum as the days passed, transcending mere student activism to include calls for an end to the 23-year-old regime of Bashir.
Although the protests have been relatively small scale, Sudanese police have responded with a swift crackdown, detaining activists and journalists and breaking up rallies with tear gas.
Tourism Minister Hassabo Abdel-Rahman and member of Sudan's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) said on Thursday that recent protests could not be compared to the uprisings in the Middle East.
“There is no Arab Spring in Sudan,” he said, during a visit in Cairo. Abdel-Rahman also accused the media of blowing the protests out of proportion and justified the arrests of Egyptian journalists saying that they did not have permit and participated in the protests.
This video shows a protester holding an empty tear gas canister made in China