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Sudanese riot police fired tear gas at demonstrators in the capital Khartoum on Monday, dispersing protesters who had planned to march on the presidential palace following deadly anti-government rallies. Crowds of men and women chanting "freedom, peace and justice" and "revolution is the people's choice" gathered in downtown Khartoum, but they were quickly confronted by police, witnesses told AFP.

Demonstrators gathered in groups in and around the downtown area, but were unable to converge to march towards the palace of President Omar al-Bashir. As police fired tear gas, protesters were seen taking refuge in small lanes of the capital's usually busy business district, which was deserted on Monday.

Most shops and businesses in downtown Khartoum were shut ahead of the planned march.

Monday's march was called by a group of professionals including doctors, teachers and engineers, who organised a similar rally on December 25. "We will march towards the presidential palace calling for President Omar al-Bashir to step down," the Sudanese Professionals' Association said in a statement late Sunday.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2019

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