Deadly unrest at massive protests in Sudan

Vast crowds have taken to the streets in Sudan to demonstrate against military rule, with reports of deaths and injuries.

The state news agency said seven people had died and 181 were hurt, citing the health ministry.

The pro-opposition Central Committee of Sudan Doctors spoke of at least five protesters being killed.

Sudan has been in turmoil since the military ousted President Omar al-Bashir in April.

That followed a popular uprising against his rule. Mr Bashir seized power in a coup on 30 June 1989.

Sunday’s protest has been the biggest since dozens were killed in a crackdown on pro-democracy activists on 3 June.

Tens of thousands defied the heavy presence of troops to demand that the ruling military council hand power to a civilian-led administration.

The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said four people were killed in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman while one protester died after being hit by a bullet in the chest in the town of Atbara.

“There are several seriously wounded by the bullets of the military council militias in hospitals of the capital and the provinces,” it added.

The deputy head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC), Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, said: “There are snipers who are firing on people, they shot three members of the Rapid Support Force and five or six citizens. There are infiltrators, people who want to jeopardise progress.”

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators near the presidential palace and three other districts in Khartoum, AFP reported.

Tear gas was also fired in Omdurman and the eastern town of Gadaref.

“We are here for the martyrs of the [June 3] sit-in. We want a civilian state that guarantees our freedom. We want to get rid of military dictatorship,” one 23-year-old protester named only as Zeinab told AFP.

If the military thought it could scare protesters, it was wrong. The protests are a massive show of strength by the pro-democracy movement.

It has pulled off the biggest demonstration since the junta took power, despite an internet blackout and the security forces blocking bridges to prevent people from joining marches. –BBC

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