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Sudan democracy march: three protesters killed as security forces open fire

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Sudan democracy march: three protesters killed as security forces open fire

Sudan

Sudan democracy march: three protesters killed as security forces open fire

Pro-coup forces reportedly use live ammunition and teargas in Khartoum and Omdurman

People protest in Khartoum, Sudan, after a military coup earlier this week.

At least one image posted on social media also appeared to show a new barbed wire barrier constructed by security forces blocking one of the city’s main highways.

“We will not be ruled by the military. That is the message we will convey at the protests,” said Tahani Abbas, a Sudanese rights activist. “The military forces are bloody and unjust and we are anticipating what is about to happen on the streets. But we are no longer afraid.”

Mawahib Ali, 33, from the Wad-Nubawai neighbourhood in Omdurman, was planning to march to the country’s parliament building close to the Nile in Omdurman. “This time our job isn’t easy. We don’t want the army any more, so you need to really work hard and insist on people going out, but I am optimistic that we will win,” she explained.

With bridges and roads closed, some marchers said they planned to head to different locations if they could not reach their planned destination.

The marches began as the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, warned that Sudan’s security forces must respect human rights, adding that any violence against peaceful demonstrators was “unacceptable”.

The US continues to stand with “Sudan’s people in their nonviolent struggle for democracy”, he said in a tweet.

The demonstrations came as Burhan announced he would appoint a technocrat prime minister to rule alongside the generals. The scale of the opposition’s “march of millions” will be seen as a key indicator of the military’s grip.

Burhan has insisted that the military’s takeover is “not a coup”, but only meant to “rectify the course of the Sudanese transition”.

However, with many saying they continued to recognise the cabinet of the deposed prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, as the legitimate government, and the US, World Bank and others cutting crucial foreign aid to the economically battered country, the military has struggled to stamp out protests.

On the eve of Saturday’s rallies, a US official said that between 20 and 30 people had died, adding that the protests would be a “real test” of the intentions of Sudan’s military.

Echoing Blinken’s statement, Britain’s special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Robert Fairweather, urged Sudan’s security forces to “respect freedom and right of expression” for protesters. “Peaceful protest is a fundamental democratic right. The security services and their leaders will bear responsibility for any violence towards any protesters,” he tweeted.

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Heavily armed security forces tore down protest barricades of tyres and rocks blocking roads, and carried out random searches of people and cars. With authorities restricting internet and phone signals, protesters were handing out flyers calling for a “march of millions” on Saturday under the slogan “Leave!”.

Supporters of the Umma party, Sudan’s largest political party, in Omdurman.

“Confronting peaceful protesters with gunfire is something that should not be tolerated,” said Haitham Mohamed, a protester in Khartoum. “It will not make us back down; it only strengthens our resolve.”

Recent pro-democracy demonstrations, including in the immediate run-up to the coup, have hugely outnumbered pro-military rallies, which the generals are accused of backing as part of their preparations to seize power.

The military takeover came after weeks of mounting tensions between military and civilian leaders over the course and pace of Sudan’s transition to democracy.

Agencies contributed to this article.

Topics

  • Sudan
  • Protest
  • Africa
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • news
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Published at Sat, 30 Oct 2021 17:30:46 +0000

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/30/sudan-coup-call-for-march-of-millions-to-challenge-military-takeover

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