5 people killed by Sudanese security forces amid new protests, activists say

Sudanese security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas on Saturday to disperse protesters denouncing the army’s tightening grip on the country, killing at least five people and injuring several others, activists said.

The violence came as thousands of pro-democracy protesters once again took to the streets of Sudan to rally against the military takeover last month. The coup drew international criticism and massive protests on the streets of the capital Khartoum and elsewhere in the country.

Security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters at various locations on Saturday. At least five protesters were killed, four by bullets and one by a tear gas canister, and several others were injured according to the Sudanese Medical Committee.

The rallies, organized by the pro-democracy movement, took place two days after the coup leader, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, reappointed as head of the Sovereign Council, the interim governing body from Sudan.

Thursday’s decision angered the pro-democracy alliance and frustrated the United States and other countries who urged the generals to reverse their coup.

“To me, this is illegitimate advice and it was a one-sided decision that was taken by Burhan alone,” said protester Wigdan Abbas, a 45-year-old healthcare worker. “It was a one-person decision … without consulting the Freedom and Change Coalition.”

Sudanese General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan speaks in Khartoum on October 26, one day after the Sudanese army seized power. Saturday’s rallies of the pro-democracy movement came two days after he was appointed head of Sudan’s interim governing body. (Ashraf Shazly / AFP / Getty Images)

Coup cut off scheduled shift

The Sudanese army seized power on October 25, dissolving the transitional government and arresting dozens of officials and politicians.

The takeover overturned a fragile planned transition to democratic rule, more than two years after a popular uprising forced the impeachment of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government.

Saturday’s protests were organized by the Sudanese Professionals Association and the so-called resistance committees, both of which were the main forces behind the uprising against al-Bashir in April 2019.

Other political parties and movements have joined the call, and the Sudan Doctors’ Committee is also part of the pro-democracy movement.

The movement opposed the return of the power-sharing agreement that established the ousted transitional government in late 2019 and demanded a full handover to civilians to lead the transition to democracy.

Earlier on Saturday, protesters in neighborhoods in Khartoum waved Sudanese flags and posters of ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, under house arrest since the coup.

They also chanted “civil, civilian”, a reference to their main demand that the generals hand over power to civilians.

Last month’s military takeover upended a fragile planned transition to democratic rule and saw Transitional Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, seen in August, placed under house arrest. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / Reuters)

Protesters later regrouped in Khartoum and barricaded at least one main street with stones and burning tires. No causality has been reported. Demonstrations also took place in other Sudanese towns.

“The youth … will not give up and stop this revolution until we achieve the goals of the revolution,” said Mohammed Ahmed, 28, a university student.

Protesters demand civilian government

Hamza Baloul, the information minister in the ousted government, participated in Saturday’s rallies after his release from detention earlier this month.

There should be “no negotiations with the coup plotters,” he told protesters in Khartoum. “The Sudanese people insist on civil government… civil status [government] is our option and we will fight for it. “

The demonstrations took place under high security. Authorities had closed bridges over the Nile connecting neighborhoods to Khartoum.

Troops and paramilitary forces also cordoned off the area around the military headquarters, where thousands of protesters set up camp in April 2019, forcing the army to withdraw al-Bashir.

United Nations envoy to Sudan Volker Perthes urged security forces to “exercise the utmost restraint” and called on protesters to “uphold the principle of peaceful protest”.

Ongoing mediation efforts are seeking a way out of the crisis.

Perthes said it had “good discussions” on Friday with representatives of the protest movement in Khartoum, civil society activists and Mohammed Hassan al-Taishi, a civilian council member dissolved in the coup. Nasredeen Abdulbari, Minister of Justice in the ousted government, also attended.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.