Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Sudanese security forces kill at least five while trying to disperse anti-coup protesters

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The violence came as thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets across Sudan to protest against the military takeover last month

Sudanese security forces kill at least five people and injure others after firing live ammunition and tear gas as they dispersed anti-coup protesters in Khartoum on Saturday.

The violence came when thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets across Sudan last month to protest the military takeover.

The coup sparked massive protests across the country, particularly on the streets of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Among the dead, four were shot dead and one who died from a tear gas canister, said the Sudan Doctors Committee. Several other protesters were also shot and injured, it said.

The pro-democracy rallies took place two days after the coup leader General Abdel-Fattah Burhan appointed himself chairman of the Sovereign Council, Sudan’s transitional government. This move angered the pro-democracy alliance and frustrated the United States and other countries that have urged the generals to reverse their coup.

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

The Sudanese military took power on October 25, more than two years after a popular uprising forced the ousting of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government. The takeover changed a fragile planned transition to democratic rule.

The protests on Saturday were organized by the Sudanese professional association and the so-called resistance committees. Both groups were the main forces behind the uprising against al-Bashir in April 2019. Other political parties and movements also joined the call, including the Sudan Doctors Committee.

On the previous Saturday, protesters gathered in the neighborhoods of Khartoum and waved Sudanese flags and posters for the deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who has been under house arrest since the coup. They also sang “civil, civil”, an allusion to their main demand that the generals hand over power to civilians.

The protesters later regrouped in Khartoum and barricaded at least one main street with stones and burning tires. Protests also broke out in other major Sudanese cities and communities.

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

Hamza Baloul, the deposed government’s information minister, attended the rallies on Saturday after his release from custody earlier this month.

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

Later on Saturday, security forces stormed Arbaeen Hospital in Omdurman, hustling and beating doctors and injured protesters seeking medical help and their families, the Sudan Doctors Committee said.

Pascal Cuttat, head of the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross Delegation in Khartoum, condemned the violence in the hospital. “The work of health professionals must be made easier and the injured must have access to the care they need,” he tweeted.

The US embassy in Khartoum also condemned “the excessive use of force” against demonstrators who took to the streets “for freedom and democracy”.

However, Sudanese police denied using live ammunition against the protesters, saying the protesters attacked several police stations and vehicles in Khartoum and seriously injured around 39 police officers.

Additional reporting by agencies

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