(CNN)At least five people were killed in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum during demonstrations calling for President Omar al-Bashir's ouster Saturday, according to an opposition union of doctors, the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors.
Five people killed amid massive demonstrations outside presidential compound
The union updated its death toll Sunday in the wake of what could have been the biggest rally since a wave of anti-government demonstrations began in December.
"On this solemn day, when the people take a giant step towards their freedom, and the streets of the country are full of revolutionaries, the oppressor machine refuses to lay down its arms and declare its bias towards its people, to continue its defense of an unjust, deadly and corrupt gang," the union said in a post on the group's Facebook page late Saturday. "The killing of peaceful protesters will increase this revolution more steadfastness and move it forward."
At least 26 people were injured in clashes with security forces and transferred to hospital. "A man in his fifties was run over by a government-owned Toyota pick-up truck, causing fractured bones in his hip and forearm," the union wrote on Facebook.
Crowds converged Saturday on the nucleus of Bashir's rule, Sudan's presidential palace and the nation's military headquarters, responding to a renewed call for protests from the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), an umbrella organization of doctors, lawyers and journalists that has led many of the demonstrations.
Security forces made at least two attempts to disperse the crowds, firing teargas on protesters amassing in surrounding streets, but the sheer number of people made the demonstration difficult to disperse, eyewitnesses said.
CNN could not independently confirm the size of the crowd, but the SPA estimated that hundreds of thousands of protesters had gathered in front of the compound. Because of the nature of the protests, Khartoum officials and police are not commenting publicly on the numbers.
After "limited clashes" with protesters, the authorities withdrew, according to a local journalist who we are not naming for their security. The forces outside the general command of the Sudanese Armed Forces have so far stayed in their positions, the source told CNN.
Demonstrators planned to maintain their presence outside the presidential compound, but it was unclear how this show of resistance would play out as night fell, the local journalist told CNN. Many protesters brought mattresses and blankets as they settled in for the evening. Local businesses and tradesmen were distributing free food and water to demonstrators staging a sit-in in the streets, multiple eyewitnesses told CNN.