Khartoum: Sudanese riot police on Tuesday beat health workers who protested the relocation of the country’s largest children’s hospital, witnesses said.

About 300 medical staff gathered outside the downtown facility objecting to the planned move to South Khartoum, the witnesses said. Authorities are seeking to decentralise health facilities.

“We will cancel your decision,” said one banner carried by the demonstrators. “The health of our children cannot be ignored,” said another.

After about 30 minutes riot police moved in with batons to beat the protesters until they dispersed, the witnesses said.

Riot police commonly use violence against demonstrators in Sudan.

The country ranked near the bottom of the UN’s 2011 Human Development Index calculated from figures including life expectancy, expected years of schooling and national income.