Violent clashes across Sudan have resulted in a number of deaths, with unconfirmed reports placing the number of fatalities as high as 80, the Sudan Tribune reported Wednesday.
Protesters reportedly armed with knives and firearms attacked more than 37 policemen in Gezira province, leaving five people dead, said Ahmed Bilal, Sudan's information minister.
"What we see confirms that they are not peaceful protesters but outlaws," he said.
Bilal also acknowledged the country's Internet had been blacked out, but promised it would end soon.
On Wednesday, protesters set fire to police stations and gas stations in Khartoum as well as offices of the ruling National Congress Party south of the capital.
Demonstrators burned tires and blocked a main road. Police used tear gas to disperse the protesters, who threw rocks at them.
The director of Omdurman Hospital, Osama Mortada, said 21 people caught in the violence had died at his hospital and another 80 were injured. All of them had gunshot wounds, he said.
Opposition groups put the number of dead at between 50 and 80.
There was no independent confirmation of the number of casualties.
Khartoum closed all schools until Monday. Earlier this week several universities announced they would close because of the unrest.
The U.S. embassy in Khartoum issued a statement calling on the Sudanese government to "respect the civil liberties of those protesting" and urged all parties "to refrain from the use of violence."
In Washington, the Sudanese embassy said the cut in fuel subsidies was a "necessary economic measure" caused by U.S. economic sanctions.
The embassy also denied shutting down the Internet, saying service was lost when protesters burned facilities of the telecommunications company that provided the country's Internet service.
The decrease in fuel subsidies has caused the cost of a gallon of gasoline to jump to $4.77 from $2.84. Diesel, that used to sell for $1.81 a gallon now costs $3.18. A 25-pound gas cylinder that had gone for $3.40 now sells for $5.68.