Thousands of people challenge Sudan’s lockdown in latest anti-coup protests | News of the protests
Security forces fired tear gas at protesters trying to march towards the presidential palace in the Sudanese capital, as thousands defied containment to join new anti-coup protests.
Thursday’s protests were the 11th day of major protests since the October 25 coup, which saw Abdallah Hamdok deposed and then reinstated as prime minister. Protesters demanded that the military play no role in government during the transition to free elections.
Sudanese authorities shut down mobile and internet services on Thursday and army, police and paramilitary patrols roamed the streets of Khartoum, while shipping containers blocked Nile bridges that connect it to its suburbs. north and the twin town of Omdurman.
An army checkpoint with an armored vehicle was seen parked on one of the open bridges.
Protesters heading towards a blocked bridge connecting the city of Bahri to the capital chanted: “As much as we sacrifice and die, we will not be ruled by the boot.
Reuters news agency said tear gas was fired at protesters in Bahri, near the bridge.
Bridges were blocked during the last demonstrations on December 25, when tens of thousands of people took to the streets.
Protesters opposing the military regime arrived near the presidential palace that day, despite the massive deployment of tear gas and a communication failure. The Sudanese Central Medical Committee said more than 200 people were injured in the protest, including six from live ammunition.
At least 48 people have been killed by security forces since pro-democracy activists launched a campaign of street protests against the coup, according to the Medical Committee.
A source from a telecommunications company told Reuters news agency that the order to shut down the internet came from the Sudan National Telecommunications Corporation.
Activists are using the internet to organize protests and broadcast live footage of the rallies.
Meanwhile, new surveillance cameras have been set up on Khartoum’s main thoroughfares along which protesters were scheduled to march for protests scheduled for Thursday.
In a report from Khartoum, Mohamed Vall of Al Jazeera said protesters were the target of tear gas as they tried to approach the presidential palace.
“In the vicinity of the palace, there are clashes between protesters and security forces,” Vall said.
“The numbers are smaller today than on Saturday due to heavy security measures including closing bridges and double or tripling the number of security forces and they use any amount of tear gas,” said Vall explained.
Speaking from Miami, Cameron Hudson, a non-resident senior researcher with the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, said that since the October 25 military coup, there have been “miscalculations. repeated by the army in terms of the power and perseverance of the protest movement ”.
“There have been more and more draconian efforts [by the military], essentially undermining whatever is left of the transition at each step, ”he added.
United States calls for calm
The U.S. embassy has called for restraint on the government led by military chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, which was counting on a controversial partnership deal in November with Hamdok to calm public anger.
“The United States Embassy reiterates its support for the peaceful expression of democratic aspirations and the need to respect and protect individuals exercising freedom of expression,” said a statement.
“We call for extreme discretion in the use of force and urge the authorities to refrain from resorting to arbitrary detention. “
Activists condemned sexual violence attacks during protests on December 19, in which the UN said at least 13 women and girls were raped or gang raped.
Hamdok had been under house arrest for weeks before returning to the post of prime minister under the November deal, which promised elections for July 2023.
But the deal has been widely criticized as a giveaway to the military that has given a veil of legitimacy to its coup, with pro-democracy protesters accusing Hamdok of “treason.”
The Sovereign Council of Sudan this week restored the powers of arrests, detentions and seizures to the country’s intelligence services.