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Sudan says it will release all the journalists it detained for covering protests in recent weeks calling for the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir.

State media say the reporters will be released on Saturday. Activists, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, say the move is intended to defuse public anger over the government’s response to the demonstrations. They say at least 16 journalists are behind bars.

The demonstrations were sparked by an economic crisis but quickly escalated into calls for the overthrow of al-Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 military coup. The doctor’s union, which supports the protests, says at least 57 people have been killed.

Activists and opposition figures have called on parliament to hold an emergency session condemning the government’s use of force.

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