April 8 (UPI) -- At least five people were killed over the weekend as protesters took to the streets of Sudan and held a sit-in outside the headquarters of the Sudanese Armed Forces demanding President Omar al-Bashir resign, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said.
Deadly protests have rocked the African country calling for the end of the Sudanese president's three-decade rule since Dec. 19 when the regime slashed subsidies that saw bread triple in price overnight.
But protests escalated Saturday when the opposition Sudanese Professional Association led a sit-in out front of the army's headquarters and declared a general strike.
The doctors committee, which is under the professionals association, said at least one protester died in Omdurman city, the Sudan Tribune reported.
Meanwhile, four people were killed and several injured as security forces attempted to disperse protesters with teargas out front of the armed forces headquarters in Khartoum, but thousands remained.
According to Human Rights Watch, at least 51 people have died since protests began in December.
Following the first day of the protest on Saturday, the signatories to the Declaration of Freedom and Change, which consists of some 22 civil and political organizations including the Sudanese Professionals Association, said that this was the country's long-awaited moment for change.
"You have broken the tyranny's nose. It is time that the dictator and his regime surrendered the power they had usurped," the group said. "At this historic moment, we urge you to stay the course along the streets surrounding the headquarters of the armed forces, and in every site across the country, until the tyranny is dismantled once and for all."
The sit-in comes as the Sudanese Processionals Association asked the military on Saturday to join the protesters in their fight.
"We are fully confident that the people will win. That it what history teaches us, but few tyrants take heed," the association said in a letter addressed to the Sudanese Armed Forces. "We hold a great hope that you will make the call of duty and conscience win by aligning with the people and their revolution in restoring a civil, democratic rule and achieving just peace and balanced development."
All bridges leading to the capital's center from Khartoum North district and Omburman were blocked Saturday by police and security forces to prevent more people from joining the sit-in, The Guardian reported.
On Thursday, Bashir had called on the opposition for dialogue while the opposition demanded that he step down and allow for a peaceful transition of power.