(Khartoum) Witnesses said that, on Tuesday, security forces fired tear gas at demonstrators who took to the streets in Sudan to protest against the military rule, two days after the prime minister resigned.
Thousands of protesters gathered in the Sudanese capital and its suburb Omdurman, as well as in the cities of Port Sudan and Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, despite the intense deployment of security forces.
Despite the deadly repression, the Sudanese Professionals Association, the spearhead of the uprising against ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019 and against the army since the October 25, 2021 coup, called for new demonstrations Tuesday to demand civilian authority.
No. The demonstrators chanted, “No to the military regime,” calling for the dissolution of the Sovereignty Council led by Army Commander Major General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, the leader of the coup that disrupted the democratic transition.
The protesters marched towards the presidential palace in Khartoum, but the streets leading to the palace and the army headquarters were cordoned off by riot police, paramilitary forces and the army and fired tear gas canisters into the crowd, according to witnesses.
Security forces also fired tear gas in Omdurman and Port Sudan.
Burnt tires, barricades
In southern Khartoum, the demonstrators sang “Civil rule, the people’s choice,” according to a witness. And in the east of the capital, “they burned tires and set up stone barriers in the streets,” according to another.
Others urged the deployed soldiers to return to their barracks.
There was no immediate indication of possible casualties. In the evening the demonstrators dispersed peacefully.
And the army is the only official since Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned, on Sunday, raising fears of a return to dictatorship.
The crackdown on protests against the army has left at least 57 people dead and hundreds injured since the coup, according to the Independent Doctors Syndicate.
According to the United Nations, at least 13 women were raped during the unrest, dozens of journalists were beaten and even arrested while the internet and phones operate only at the will of the authority.
On November 21, General Burhan reinstated Abdallah Hamdok’s position in a deal that promised mid-2023 elections, but the protest movement called the deal a “betrayal” and continued its protests.
In his resignation, Hamdok said he tried to prevent the country “from sliding into disaster”, but that Sudan is now at a “dangerous crossroads that threatens its survival.”
Warning from Washington and the European Union
On Tuesday, Burhan stressed the need to “continue dialogue between all parties to reach a national consensus program,” according to a statement issued by his office.
He also discussed with UN Special Representative Volker Perthes “the acceleration of the appointment of a new prime minister,” according to the text.
However, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Norway urged the Sudanese army not to unilaterally appoint a new head of government, considering in a joint statement that they “will not support a particular prime minister or government without the participation of a large team of civilian actors.”
Sudan has been undergoing a fragile transition to a full civil order since the overthrow of dictator Omar al-Bashir in April 2019 by the military under pressure from the streets.
General Burhan extended his term by two years, erasing any notion of transferring power to civilians before the end of the transition period he had always promised in July 2023 with elections.
Sudan, a large country in East Africa, is in a serious economic crisis with the failure of infrastructure, which has increased the discontent of the population impoverished by inflation to more than 300%.
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