Sudanese anti-coup protesters barricade streets

Sudanese anti-coup protesters on Sunday manned barricades in Khartoum a day after a deadly crackdown on mass rallies, as a defiant civil disobedience campaign against the military takeover entered its seventh day.

Tens of thousands turned out across the country for Saturday’s demonstrations, marching against the army’s October 25 power grab, when top General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan dissolved the government, declared a state of emergency and detained Sudan’s civilian leadership.

The move sparked a chorus of international condemnation and punitive aid cuts, with world powers demanding a swift return to civilian rule and calls for the military to show “restraint” against protesters.

Volker Perthes, UN Special Representative to Sudan, said Sunday he had met with detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who is under armed guard by the ruling military junta.

“He (Hamdok) remains well but under house arrest,” Perthes said. “We discussed options for mediation and the way forward for Sudan. I will continue these efforts with other Sudanese stakeholders.” 

The independent Central Committee of Sudan’s Doctors said Sunday that militias shot dead a protester on the day of the coup, pushing its overall toll to 12 dead. 

A senior US official had estimated at least 20 to 30 people had been killed before Saturday’s protests.

At least three people were shot dead and more than 100 people wounded during Saturday’s demonstrations, according to medics, who reported those killed had bullet wounds in their head, chest or stomach. Police forces denied the killings, or using live bullets.

“No, no, to military rule,” protesters carrying Sudanese flags chanted as they marched around the capital and other cities, as forces fired tear gas to break them up.

Sudan had been ruled since August 2019 by a joint civilian-military council as part of the now derailed transition to full civilian rule.

US President Joe Biden has called the coup a “grave setback”, while the African Union has suspended Sudan’s membership for the “unconstitutional” takeover.

The World Bank and the United States froze aid, a move that will hit hard in a country already mired in a dire economic crisis.

But Burhan — who became de facto leader after hardline ex-president Omar al-Bashir was ousted and jailed in 2019 following huge youth-led protests — has insisted the military takeover was “not a coup”. 

Instead, Burhan says he wants to “rectify the course of the Sudanese transition”. 

Demonstrations on Saturday rocked many cities across Sudan, including in the eastern states of Gedaref and Kassala, as well as in North Kordofan and White Nile, witnesses and AFP correspondents said. -AFP

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