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MSNBC’s Bashir Wins ‘Worst Reporting’ Award for Palin Rant.

By Bill Hoffmann

The Media Research Center has announced its 26th annual awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting, with former MSNBC host Martin Bashir taking top honors for his rant against Sarah Palin.

“It’s a huge ballot to go through every year, so many quotes,” Rich Noyes, director of media analysis for the center, told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newmax TV.

“And yet it seems to get more extreme every year,” Noyes said Wednesday.

But nothing was as extreme as Bashir’s potty-mouthed remarks against the former Alaska governor and running mate of John McCain — words that got him fired.

The controversy began when Bashir played a video of Palin speaking to Iowa’s Faith and Freedom Coalition in which she compared the United States’ national debt to slavery.

Bashir read from the diary of British overseer Thomas Thistlewood, who described an inhumane punishment inflicted on a slave involving human waste.

“When Mrs. Palin invokes slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance,” Bashir said. “She confirms if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate.”

Bashir later issued a groveling apology, stating on the air: “I wanted to take this opportunity to say sorry to Mrs. Palin, and to also offer an unreserved apology to her friends and family, her supporters, our viewers, and anyone who may have heard what I said,” Bashir said. “My words were wholly unacceptable. They were neither accurate nor fair.”

He was dismissed by MSNBC.

Media Research Center president and founder Brent Bozell said of Bashir’s axing:

“Good riddance to another nasty little cog in the liberal media hate machine . . . [He earns] a permanent place in MSNBC’s pantheon of disgraced so-called ‘journalists.'”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Palin: Accepts Bashir’s Apology, Will ‘Move On’.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said her role is to accept the apology of MSNBC commentator Martin Bashir, and move on after his crude verbal on-air attack.

“My role is to accept his apology, and be humble enough to accept it, and move on,” Palin told “Fox & Friends” Thursday, in her first public response after MSNBC announced Bashir’s resignation Wednesday.

Story continues below video.

The network originally suspended Bashir after comments he made Nov. 15 calling Palin a “world class idiot.” He also made a reference to disgusting punishment given slaves, suggesting Palin should receive the same treatment. Bashir issued an apology a few days after making the remarks.

Palin, who was also the Republican 2008 vice presidential candidate, said she hopes attacks such as Bashir’s don’t “make people hesitate” from taking a chance and getting involved.

“I just hope that unprovoked attacks like that don’t result in people being hesitant to jump in the arena, anyway — to get out there and serve the public or start a business or really commit themselves to changing within their family, their community, their world, doing whatever that they can,” Palin said.

The positive side of the issue was the media response calling for an emphasis on higher standards, Palin said.

“It was refreshing to see, though, that many in the media did come out and say, ‘Look, our standards have got to be higher than this. Those with that platform, with a microphone, a camera in their face, they have to have some more responsibility taken,'” she said.

From years in the public spotlight, Palin said she was “used to it,” but that verbal attacks represented “a sad state of affairs.”

“Now, I look at it as kind of par for the course,” she said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


By Wanda Carruthers

Politico: MSNBC’s Martin Bashir Suspended for Palin Remarks.

Image: Politico: MSNBC's Martin Bashir Suspended for Palin Remarks

By Greg Richter

Television commentator Martin Bashir has been suspended for remarks he made about former Alaska Gov. Sarah PalinPolitico reports

But MSNBC, the cable news channel that airs Bashir’s self-titled program, says he is “on vacation.”

Bashir was off last week during Thanksgiving, but did not return to the air Monday. Guest host Joy Reid sat in for him.

Politico’s Dylan Byers reported that network sources had told him Bashir was under temporary suspension after making crude remarks about Palin on his show Nov. 15. After a weekend of criticism, Bashir led his Nov. 18 show with an apology.

Palin accepted the apology, but conservatives demanded some form of punishment for Bashir, especially after the cable channel handed down a two-week suspension to host Alec Baldwin for making a gay slur to a photographer who approached his wife and baby.

Baldwin joined that call, saying his own remarks were made off-the-cuff and not on the air, while Bashir’s were scripted and delivered during his program.

Baldwin’s show has since been canceled. He denies using a gay slur.

MSNBC spokeswoman Lauren Skowronski would not confirm to Politico Bashir’s suspension, saying in an email, “He’s still out on vacation.” She did not respond to a question about when Bashir would return.

Bashir’s original remarks were a response to Palin’s comparing the United States’ debt to China to slavery. He called her a “world-class idiot” before describing the inhumane treatment a certain slave owner had used and suggesting Palin be given a dose of the same treatment.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Debate rages over Sudan’s Bashir after “plot” arrests.

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s information minister had one clear message after security agents moved in to arrest their former spy chief – that a plot had been uncovered, the culprits caught and the situation in the country was now “totally stable”.

Khartoum did appear quiet a day later on Friday – but on the desert city’s dusty streets the detention amplified a debate about the future of the country’s leader, and posed new questions about who might one day unseat him.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has kept a near quarter-century hold on this African oil producer, drawing support from its all powerful military, security services and large parts of the devout, overwhelmingly Muslim population.

His speeches regularly referred to threats from outside – from the West, from Israel and from theInternational Criminal Court, which has indicted him over charges of atrocities in Darfur.

But the man arrested on Thursday on charges of plotting to “incite chaos” was Salah Gosh, once one of the most powerful figures in Bashir’s inner circle, together with several other senior figures from army and security.

“He (Bashir) would always be worried … that the opposition groups would be involved, but now it’s coming from inside. There is a categorical difference there,” said Magdi El Gizouli, a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute.

Gizouli said there were signs of frustration inside the military, where many who had fought Bashir’s wars in Darfur and the south were itching for the old guard to move on.

“Inside the regime and army are many who want jobs. They are not young anymore. It’s not about reforms. It’s about power,” he added.

Public unrest has also been growing over rising prices and growing inflation after South Sudan split away as an independent nation last year, under the terms of a peace deal, taking most of the country’s oil reserves with it.

Diplomats and analysts in Sudan told Reuters they doubted those tensions had built up into an active military coup attempt.

The detentions were rather a warning shot to those inside the army, security and services and ruling party who might even be considering searching for a replacement for Bashir, they added.

“This is a power struggle inside the regime. It was a preemptive measure,” said Faisal Mohammad Saleh, a prominent journalist. “I don’t think the arrested people had planned anything yet. Maybe they made some phone calls or met, but this was a early stage.”


Quieter questions were already circulating about Bashir’s future after an official from his ruling National Congress Party said last year, in the wake of “Arab spring” protests, he would not seek re-election in the 2015 presidential election.

Speculation mounted after officials were forced to announce Bashir underwent throat surgery in Qatar in August when people in the street started wondering why he had stopped holding his famous public rallies.

Officials insist Bashir is healthy after undergoing a second operation in Saudi Arabia. But a reduction in his public appearances has kept people talking.

At an Islamist conference last week Sudan invited Muslim leaders from Egypt, Tunisia and further afield, but Bashir’s seat was vacant for more than one hour at the opening ceremony.

When Bashir finally came, officials interrupted a speech to declare “the president of the republic is here”.

The startling arrest of Gosh and the other officials, opened up another dimension in the speculation.

“You cannot stop the succession debate anymore. It’s there and people wonder how fit their president is or whether he wants to run again at the next elections,” said a Western diplomat.

“(Vice President Ali Osman) Taha has many supporters in the NCP but there are others in the army and NCP with ambitions too.”


While details of the plot arrests remain unclear, analysts say the trigger could have been worries that once-loyal Islamists would stage protests after hopes for reforms were dashed at the Khartoum conference last week.

In papers circulated in mosques before the meeting, many had demanded to discuss fighting corruption or reforms at the forum of the Islamic Movement, a quasi-official organization meant to guide the NCP.

But hopes for changes were dashed when the government managed to push through its candidate, former minister al-Zubeir al-Hassan, as new secretary general.

“He is not a historical Islamist leader, he doesn’t really have Islamic credentials,” said Harry Verhoeven, a long-time Sudan watcher.

Thousands of mid-level army officers heeded calls by Muslim leaders to fight southern “infidels” during the country’s decades-long civil war with South Sudan.

Many of them were furious when the peace deal that Bashir secured to end that conflict opened the door for southerners to secede from Sudan last year.

Former “mujahideen” have organized themselves into groups such as the “Saihun”, or travelers in Arabic, to vent their anger against the government.

“I went fighting as a young man and I feel this government has run the country aground with their corruption. We have ministers who are not competent,” said an Islamist, speaking to Reuters before the arrests were announced.

After the arrests, Islamists uploaded pictures of one of the army officers detained alongside Gosh – Wad Ibrahim, a civil war hero respectfully called “Emir of the Mujahideen”.

Shops opened as usual in the morning before Friday prayers. At one mosque visited by Reuters the preacher did not mention the arrests.

Many Sudanese, used to political upheavals, wondered what will happen next. “Who is ruling this country,” wrote a user on the “Saihun” website on Thursday as rumors were swirling around.

“I don’t think they tried to stage a military coup,” said 55-year-old Ibrahim Idriss, a food merchant in central Khartoum. “I’m not interested in it anyway. I worry more about corruption and officials who steal people’s money.”

(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Andrew Heavens)


By Ulf Laessing and Khalid Abdelaziz | Reuters

Sudan’s Bashir vows “painful response” to alleged Israel bombing.

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – President Omar Hassan al-Bashir promised on Thursday that Sudan would respond robustly to what he believes was an Israeli bombing of a Khartoum arms factory.

Bashir, in a speech from the Sudanese embassy in Saudi Arabia broadcast on Sudan’s Blue Nile TV, also said he was in “perfect health” after undergoing surgery in the Gulf kingdom.

Sudan last month accused Israel of carrying out an air strike on the Yarmouk weapons plant in the south of Khartoum, causing a blast that killed four people.

Israel has not commented. It has long accused Sudan of channeling weapons from Iran to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory it has under blockade.

“Israel will remain the number one enemy, and we will not call them anything except the Zionist enemy,” Bashir said in his speech, shown in footage dated Thursday and his first appearance since undergoing surgery.

Bashir also lamented what he described as Israel’s superior, radar-evading aircraft technology, but ruled out normalizing relations with the Jewish state.

In a brief text message sent to mobile phones, state radio earlier quoted Bashir as saying he was in “perfect health” and that the response to Israel would be “painful”.

Bashir, who came to power in a bloodless 1989 coup, left hospital in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday after undergoing a “small, successful” operation, state media said.

Sudanese blogs and newspapers had begun to speculate about Bashir’s health because he has held fewer public rallies in the past few months. He underwent surgery on his vocal cords in Qatar in August, an official said last month.

In the televised speech, Bashir said his surgery and the related medical examinations had taken only 24 hours.

Over 23 years in power, Bashir has weathered multiple armed rebellions, years of U.S. trade sanctions, an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, waves of student protests and the secession of oil-producing South Sudan last year.

He is known for his fiery speeches and for dancing and waving his walking stick at public events.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Mark Heinrich)



Sudan swears in austerity cabinet amid protests.

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Sudan on Monday swore in ministers to a slimmed-down cabinet under austerity measures which an analyst dismissed as symbolic in the face of unprecedented public protests over high prices.

The government has cut five of 31 ministerial posts, largely by combining certain positions, official media reported.

Among the changes, the ministry of information has merged with culture, electricity and water resources have been combined, as have human resources and labour, the official SUNA news agency said.

The ministry of international cooperation has been scrapped, it added.

President Omar al-Bashir swore in six ministers to handle the restructured portfolios.

SUNA did not say how much money the move will save but it is “not really that significant” in terms of total government spending, said Safwat Fanous, a political scientist at the University of Khartoum.

Analysts say defence and security take up a major portion of Sudanese government expenses. Those ministries were not named as part of the restructuring.

But Fanous told AFP the government is trying to send a message that “the suffering reaches everybody”.

Bashir last month fired all of his advisers in another cost-saving move, and Fanous said the salaries and fringe benefits of ministers and members of parliament have also been cut.

But even after a reduction of around 30 percent, a minister will still earn an estimated 7,000 Sudanese pounds a month ($1,590), double a professor’s salary, Fanous said.

A minister’s reduced income is more than 20 times the official wage of a policeman.

Under measures which the government claims will save $1.5 billion, Finance Minister Ali Mahmud al-Rasul also announced in June a phasing out of fuel subsidies, a rise in the VAT and other taxes, and a devaluation of the Sudanese pound.

Reducing fuel subsidies led to an immediate jump of about 50 percent in the pump price of petrol, fuelling inflation which has increased every month and reached 30.4 percent in May.

Protests against already-high food prices began on June 16 at the University of Khartoum and spread to include a cross-section of people around the capital and in other parts of Sudan after Bashir announced the austerity measures.

Protests calling for an end to his regime have continued for three weeks in the longest-running public challenge to Bashir’s 23-year rule.

Sudan has lost billions of dollars in oil receipts since South Sudan gained independence on July 9 last year, taking with it about 75 percent of Sudanese crude production.

Failure to agree with South Sudan over fees for use of the north’s oil export infrastructure cost the Sudanese economy a further $2.4 billion, the finance minister said in May.

The north has been left struggling for revenue, plagued by inflation and with a severe shortage of dollars to pay for imports.


AFPBy Ian Timberlake | AFP 

Sudan constitution to be “100 percent Islamic:” Bashir.

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said on Saturday Sudan‘s next constitution would be “100 percent Islamic” to set an example for neighboring countries, some of which have seen religious parties gain power after popular uprisings.

              The secession of mostly non-Muslim South Sudan a year ago sparked predictions that Sudan, which hosted former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the 1990s, would start implementing Islamic law more strictly.

              In a speech to leaders of the mystical Islamic Sufi tradition in Khartoum, Bashir suggested Sudan’s new, post-secession constitution could help guide the region’s political transformation.

              “We want to present a constitution that serves as a template to those around us. And our template is clear, a 100 percent Islamic constitution, without communism or secularism or Western (influences),” said Bashir.

              “And we tell non-Muslims, nothing will preserve your rights except for Islamic sharia because it is just,” he said.

              Bashir, facing small-scale protests calling for him to step down, said a committee made up of “all parties, religious sects and Sufis” would be set up to draft a constitution.

That appeared to be a move to assuage resentment by other opposition parties – many of which are still dominated by Islamist figures – over Bashir’s reluctance to loosen the grip of the ruling National Congress Party.

He did not give a date for the new constitution.

Following the 1989 coup that brought Bashir to power, Sudan introduced laws that took sharia as their main source.

Already, floggings are a common punishment in Sudan for crimes like drinking alcohol and adultery.

              Sentences of stoning are rare, although in May a Sudanese woman was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, sparking condemnation from human rights lawyers. Similar sentences in the past have not been carried out.

              Bashir has been in power for the last 23 years and is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur, charges the government says are politically motivated and baseless.

              Sudan’s opposition parties have called for strikes, sit-ins and demonstrations to topple Bashir’s government, throwing their weight behind recent anti-austerity protests, which have also involved calls for greater freedoms.

              However, they have not yet sent their supporters out to the streets.

              (Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Ralph Gowling)



Sudan opposition pledges to step up protests.

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  • Sudanese security forces pass through a Khartoum street on July 2 in the midst of a security clampdown to confront unprecedented anti-regime protests, sparked by inflation. Sudan's opposition parties have pledged to step up anti-regime protests, their alliance said on Thursday, nearly three weeks after the start of the unprecedented public demonstrations. (AFP Photo/Ian Timbarlake)Sudanese security forces pass through …
  • Smoke rises from burning tyres during protests in the Sudanese capital Khartoum in June 2012. Sudan's opposition parties have pledged to step up anti-regime protests, their alliance said on Thursday, nearly three weeks after the start of unprecedented public demonstrations sparked by inflation. (AFP Photo/Ian Timbarlake)Smoke rises from burning tyres …

Sudan’s opposition parties have pledged to step up anti-regime protests, their alliance said on Thursday, nearly three weeks after the start of unprecedented public demonstrations sparked by inflation.

About 17 political parties on Wednesday signed a charter “to dismantle the one-party regime and bring about a multi-party system,” Farouk Abu Issa, head of the opposition coalition, told AFP.

The change will come “by mobilising our people” with larger peaceful protests against the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), including on Friday which has become a focus of anti-government demonstrations, he said.

“This is the way we have chosen,” Abu Issa added.

Non-governmental organisations and individuals also signed the pact.

Protests against high food prices began on June 16 at the University of Khartoum.

After President Omar al-Bashir announced austerity measures, including tax hikes and an end to cheap fuel, the protests spread to include a cross-section of people around the capital and in other parts of Sudan.

Demonstrators have burned tyres, thrown stones and blocked roads in a call for regime change that has been met by what the European Union called “a violent crackdown.”

Last Friday, hundreds of protesters who gathered beside the Umma party mosque in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman were confronted with tear gas and rubber bullets, witnesses said.

The Umma party, led by former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, is a key member of the opposition alliance, along with Islamist opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi and his Popular Congress Party.

A diplomatic source last week said that opposition parties had been relatively quiet during the protests, and activists have dismissed the political opposition as weak.

But Wednesday’s pact could lead to coordination, which has been missing, between those who have been protesting on the street and the political opposition, one activist said.

“Now hopefully this agreement that they reached yesterday will allow them to make a call… for a national protest,” said the activist, who was previously arrested and asked for anonymity.

“If they do that, that will have a very significant impact because they do have numbers. The Umma party can rally 50,000 people in a day.”

There will be “a huge impact” if imams such as Mahdi ask people to take to the streets in protest after Friday prayers, the activist added.

The NCP’s political secretary, Hasabo Mohammed Abdel Rahman, on Thursday said his party remained committed to dialogue “with all political forces,” the official SUNA news agency said.

He added that numerous parties were participants in the current government, and that those who opposed the austerity measures had presented no economic alternative “but managed to stage protests and demonstrations.”

Abu Issa noted that popular mobilisation has twice toppled regimes in Sudanese history.

In 1964, the death of student activist Ahmed al-Qureshi sparked the “October Revolution” which brought down the military government then in power after tens of thousands protested.

During an economic crisis in 1985, huge crowds marched in an uprising which led to the bloodless overthrow of president Gaafar al-Nimeiry.

On June 30, 1989, Bashir seized power from Mahdi, who was democratically elected.

Under the current regime the civil service, military and “all governmental institutions have been hijacked by the National Congress Party,” Abu Issa said.

He vowed to form a coalition government that respects international norms of civil liberties, has “brotherly” relations with South Sudan and responds to the demands of people in the Darfur region.

Abu Issa said he would not exclude the NCP if they wanted to join as “partners”.

Bashir has played down the current demonstrations as small-scale and not comparable to the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere, maintaining that he himself remains popular.


AFPBy Ian Timberlake | AFP 

Sudan opposition calls for strikes, protests.

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KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan‘s main opposition parties on Wednesday called for strikes, sit-ins and demonstrations to topple the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, throwing their weight behind anti-austerity protests.

              The Arab-African country has been mired in an economic crisis since oil-producing South Sudan seceded a year ago, and tough spending cuts aimed at plugging a budget gap prompted protests across the country about two and a half weeks ago.

              Opposition parties, struggling with an image as fractious and ineffective, had so far only voiced limited support for the demonstrations, which have rarely mustered more than a few hundred people at a time.

              Large demonstrations have been relatively rare in Sudan, which has so far avoided the “Arab Spring” protest movements in Egypt and Libya. Security forces usually quickly disperse protests.

              The main opposition groups on Wednesday signed a pact calling for “collective, peaceful political struggle in all its forms… to overthrow the regime” including “strikes, peaceful demonstrations, sit-ins and civil disobedience”.

              Supporters outside the National Unionist Party‘s Office in the Khartoum suburb of Omdurman, chanted “revolution, revolution until victory”, before the deal was signed.

Farouk Abu Issa, head of the National Consensus Forces, an umbrella group of opposition parties, said the deal – which vowed to carry out a “democratic alternative programme” after the current government fell – would fuel more demonstrations.

“We want to rally our people, organise our people so that they stand fast with us in achieving our goal in toppling this regime,” he told Reuters after the deal was signed.

It was not clear when the opposition leaders planned to bring their members to the streets in force, but activists have called for more demonstrations on Friday.


If Bashir – in power since a bloodless 1989 coup – and his ruling National Congress Party were deposed, a ceasefire would be declared on all fronts against the multiple armed insurgencies Sudan is facing, the document said.

The parties also agreed to cancel laws restricting freedoms, hold a national constitutional conference, prepare the country for free elections and carry out a variety of other reforms.

The government already fighting armed insurgencies in its western Darfur region and in two southern border states, has played down the protests.

              Information Ministry official Rabie Abdelati said the opposition parties did not have the popular momentum to turn their vows into action. “They have no support from the people,” he said. “We are not bothering about what they are saying.”

              The opposition leaders who signed the deal included Hassan al-Turabi, head of the Popular Congress Party, who was once one of the most powerful figures in Sudanese politics but whose influence has declined since he fell out with Bashir in the late 90s.

              They also included the general secretary of the Umma party, whose leader Sadeq al-Mahdi was elected premier in 1986 after mass protests, mainly against food inflation, ousted the country’s military ruler a year earlier.

              Student activists have mostly led Sudan’s recent protests, trying to use discontent over soaring food and other prices to build a broader movement to topple the government and make the political system more democratic.

              Officials have dismissed the demonstrations as the work of a handful of agitators whose aims are not shared by the majority of Sudanese and blamed “Zionist institutions” for stoking the unrest.


ReutersBy Alexander Dziadosz | Reuters

Rubber bullets, tear gas fired in Sudan protests.

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Sudanese police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of peaceful protesters on Friday, the 14th day of anti-regime demonstrations sparked by inflation, witnesses said.

Protesters had gathered in the capital’s Hijra Square beside the mosque of the opposition Umma party in Khartoum‘s twin city of Omdurman. Police said the crowd numbered in the thousands and one person was reported injured.

One witness said demonstrators carried Sudanese flags and banners reading “The people want the regime to fall,” a slogan used by protesters during the Arab Spring uprisings against regional strongmen over the past year.

After the tear gas and an unknown number of arrests, demonstrators burned tyres and threw stones at police before running for cover, the witness said.

Similar running battles between protesters and police occurred in the Bahri district of Khartoum, where tear gas was also fired, the witness added.

Demonstrators planned major protests for Friday and Saturday, the 23rd anniversary of a coup by President Omar al-Bashir.

Human rights groups say scores of people have been detained since the protests against high food prices began on June 16 at the University of Khartoum.

Among those held Friday was Sudanese journalist Talal Saad, who had brought some freelance photos of the protests to the AFP bureau in Khartoum. Armed national security agents raided the bureau, ordered AFP’s correspondent to delete the photos and took Saad away.

After Bashir announced austerity measures, including tax hikes and an end to cheap fuel, the protests spread to include a cross-section of people in numerous locations throughout the capital and other parts of Sudan.

Demonstrators, typically in groups of 100 or 200, have burned tyres, thrown stones and blocked roads in a call for regime change which has almost universally been met by police tear gas.

Bashir has played down the demonstrations as small-scale and not comparable to the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere, maintaining that he himself remains popular.



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