Sudanese PM resigns amid violent coup protests that have left at least 57 dead
By Alaa Elassar and Pierre Meilhan, CNN
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has resigned, according to a video address of Hamdok posted on Sunday on the verified YouTube account of the prime minister’s office.
The announcement came after three protesters were killed by Sudanese security forces during protests against the coup on Sunday near the capital, the civilian-allied Sudanese Central Medical Committee (SCDC) said.
Two of the protesters were shot in the chest while the third died from a “violent direct injury to the head,” SCDC said.
Various news agencies and videos on social media showed groups of protesters running through plumes of white tear gas smoke and dispersing from the sound of alleged gunfire.
The protests followed blackouts of the Internet and mobile phone networks.
Sunday’s protests in Omdurman, about 25 kilometers (16 miles) northwest of Khartoum, were the 14th day of mass protests against the military regime since the October 25 coup. At least 57 people have been killed by security forces since, SCDC reported.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement on New Year’s Day, also Sudan’s independence day, commemorating its 66 years of independence and criticizing the violent attacks on civilians by the Sudanese security services.
“We were hoping that 2021 would provide the opportunity to join forces with a democratizing Sudan, but the army’s seizure of power in October and violence against peaceful protesters cast doubt on that future,” Blinken said. in the press release.
“We do not want to go back in time and are ready to respond to those who seek to block the aspirations of the Sudanese people for a democratic government led by civilians and which would obstruct accountability, justice and peace. “
Blinken called on the security forces “to immediately stop using lethal force against protesters” and bring justice to those responsible for human rights violations.
The US Embassy in Khartoum also reiterated its support for “the peaceful expression of democratic aspirations and the need to respect and protect individuals exercising freedom of expression,” in a tweet. Last week.
Sudan’s descent into crisis
Sudan had been ruled by a difficult alliance between military and civilian groups since 2019. But in October, the military effectively took control, dissolving the power-sharing Sovereign Council and the transitional government, and temporarily detaining Hamdok, the Prime Minister. Minister.
The country’s military leader, General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, reinstated Hamdok in November as part of an agreement between military and civilian leaders.
Under the agreement between Hamdok and Al-Burhan, Hamdok would again become the head of the transitional government, which was first established after President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019.
The Council of Ministers, which was dissolved on October 25, was to be re-established and the civilian and military leaders would share power. The constitution would be amended to define the partnership between civilians and the military in the transitional government.
But the deal also provided for unspecified restructuring, according to Mudawi Ibrahim, a prominent National Forces Initiative (NFI) official, which helped mediate the talks, and it has met with resistance in Sudan.
Citizens protesting against the military regime were brutalized and the media faced violent efforts to stop reporting on the events.
Sudanese security forces sought to censor some broadcasters on Thursday, according to several media accounts.
Authorities raided the offices of Saudi broadcaster al-Arabiya and its affiliate al-Hadath, confiscating equipment and assaulting staff in Khartoum on Thursday, al-Arabiya said in a series of tweets.
Internet services have also been severely disrupted since the coup and phone coverage remains spotty. Although everyday life almost came to a halt when the coup struck, shops, roads and some banks have since reopened.
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CNN’s Kareem Khadder and Céline Alkhaldi contributed to this report.