Khartoum: Thousands of defiant Sudanese protesters remained camped outside army headquarters for a fourth day Tuesday, after security forces abandoned two separate attempts to disperse them when soldiers fired in the air, witnesses said. Chanting “freedom, freedom,” crowds of men and women, who had spent the night camped outside Khartoum’s sprawling complex that also houses the president’s residence, urged top brass to back them in ending Omar al-Bashir’s three decades of iron-fisted tule. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USIt is the largest rally since protests erupted following a three-fold increase in bread prices in December, before mushrooming into nationwide demonstrations demanding that Bashir step down. Early on Tuesday, members of the National Intelligence and Security Service and riot police fired tear gas at the protesters in an abortive bid to disperse their sit-in, protest movement organisers said. “There was heavy firing of tear gas after which army soldiers opened the gates of the compound for protesters to enter,” a witness told AFP. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”A few minutes later a group of soldiers fired gunshots in the air to push back the security forces who were firing tear gas.” A second witness too said soldiers had intervened against the security force agents. Since the protests erupted in December, the armed forces have remained on the sidelines even as security agents and riot police have cracked down. Demonstrators have called on the army to protect them from the deadly crackdown, during their four days camped outside its headquarters. Later a group of soldiers returned to the complex with a body in their pick-up truck, witnesses said. “What is the price of martyrs?” shouted the demonstrators as the vehicle entered. It was not immediately clear whose body it was. Hours later, security forces made a second attempt to clear the sit-in, witnesses said. They fired tear gas and shot in the air as they approached the area, witnesses said, adding that soldiers intervened again firing guns in the air.