KHARTOUM - GN - Sudanese security forces fired tear gas on Sunday at several hundred protesters and chased them down side streets, a Reuters witness said, as anti-government protests entered their second month.

Near daily demonstrations set off by a worsening economic crisis have shaken Sudan since Dec. 19. Protesters have called for an end to President Omar al-Bashir’s three-decade rule, blaming him for the country’s problems. Bashir has blamed the unrest and accompanying violence on foreign “agents” and rebels from the western region of Darfur, claims he repeated on Sunday.

In Sunday’s protests demonstrators had blocked Al Arbaeen street, one of the main arteries in Omdurman, across the Nile from the center of the capital Khartoum. Some raised two fingers in victory signs as tear gas was fired at them.

About 30 trucks carrying security personnel, some in uniform and some in plain clothes, were deployed to the area. Later, smoke could be seen rising above the densely populated streets.

Security forces have used tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition to disperse protests, witnesses say. They have also rounded up hundreds of opposition figures, activists and demonstrators. The official death toll stands at 26, including two security agents. Rights groups say at least 40 have died.