Anti-coup Demonstrations in Sudan Demand Return of Civilian Government
At least six protesters were killed during massive demonstrations on Saturday that Sudanese security forces dispersed by live bullets and tear gas
Sudanese police killed at least six protesters on Saturday during massive demonstrations held in the capital Khartoum and in cities throughout the country. Sudanese security forces used live bullets and tear gas to disperse anti-coup protesters during a crackdown on renewed pro-democracy protests.
Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters filled the streets nationwide nearly three weeks after top general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan overthrew the government, imprisoned the civilian leadership and announced a state of emergency.
Demonstrators shouted: “Down with the entire council,” a day after Burhan was sworn in as the head of a new army-run interim governing body.
Sudanese security forces arrested the bureau chief of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV, the network said on Sunday, a day after the latest crackdown on anti-coup protesters left at least six dead and dozens injured.
The independent Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors said the killed protesters are from Khartoum, and its twin city Omdurman to the east of the capital.
The latest deaths bring to 20 the number of people killed in anti-coup protests since the military takeover on October 25, according to the medics.
Pascal Cuttat, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Sudan, said in a Twitter post that medical assistance should not be obstructed.
“The passage of ambulances must be allowed, the work of medical professionals must be facilitated and the injured must have access to the care they need,” he said. “The medical mission has to be protected.”
The army can’t rule us. We didn’t get rid of one dictator to get another.
Security forces accused demonstrators of attacking police stations and denied using “live rounds” of ammunition, saying they used only “minimum force.”
State television reported that 39 police officers were “severely wounded” in clashes with protesters.
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan was sworn in on Thursday as head of the new Sovereign Council, which replaces the power-sharing body he dissolved last month, ousting the civilian government bloc of the coalition that had been sharing power with the army since the two sides signed an agreement in 2019.
Sudanese journalist Mustafa Jameh told The Media Line that the people are determined to continue their protests until the military gives up power.
“The army can’t rule us. We didn’t get rid of one dictator to get another,” he said.
Pro-democracy groups led by neighborhood resistance committees are organizing a campaign of civil disobedience and protests against the October 25 coup, with another day of demonstrations planned for November 17.
“The council must be held accountable for the bloodshed,” Jameh said.
Sudanese protester Mahmoud, who would only give his first name, told The Media Line that “civil disobedience” is the only way to bring down the military council.
“We demand a civilian government no matter what the cost is going to be,” Mahmoud said.
Labor unions and other unions in Sudan accuse the government of freezing their bank accounts.
The US embassy in Khartoum said it “deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries of dozens of Sudanese citizens demonstrating today for freedom and democracy.”
We demand a civilian government no matter what the cost is going to be
The takeover sparked outrage and major international condemnation.
The US and other western powers called on the new Sudanese ruling council and police to respect the right to free speech “without fear of violence or detention.”
The ousted prime minister, Abdallah Hamdok, has been under house arrest since Oct. 25. He has demanded the release of top civilians and a return to the transition to a civilian democracy that began after the deposing of autocrat Omar al-Bashir in 2019.