At least 29 people have reportedly died over the past few days as security forces in Sudan have suppressed the most significant unrest since President Omar al-Bashir came to power in 1989. The protests, which began on 23 September in Wad Madani, south of Khartoum, were sparked by the Government cutting fuel subsidies, which caused prices to almost double. They then spread to the capital and other major cities including Port Sudan and escalated rapidly, leading to violence against police stations, power and petrol stations, banks, shops and other commercial interests.
The unrest has also taken on an increasingly anti-regime character, with protesters calling for al-Bashir to go. This reflects the growing pressure on him in recent years; there were smaller-scale protests in both 2011 and 2012 against his increasingly authoritarian policies. Moreover, he was personally undermined by the 2011 secession of South Sudan, which also deprived Khartoum of much of its oil revenue – contributing to the subsidy cuts which provoked this unrest and also reduced the regime’s ability to appease protesters.