Sudanese police fire tear gas as thousands protest
Sudanese police fired tear gas on Monday as thousands of protesters rallied against the military-dominated government near the presidential palace in Khartoum, witnesses told AFP.
Separately in the far west of the country, an official and medics said nearly 50 people were killed in an outbreak of tribal violence.
Protesters in Khartoum marched from various parts of the capital, many carrying national flags or chanting “No to military rule” and “The army may betray you, but the streets will never betray you”.
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Protesters, in the last of many rallies in recent weeks, erected barricades on the road with stones and burning car tires, black smoke rising into the sky.
In the aftermath of the October 25 coup, previous protests have met with a violent crackdown that left 44 people dead until November 22, a pro-democracy doctors’ union said. Hundreds more were injured, mostly from gunfire.
Sudan’s highest general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, seized power and detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok but, after international condemnation and mass protests, reinstated him in an agreement signed on November 21.
Critics lashed out at the deal and pro-democracy activists vowed to keep the pressure on military-civilian authority.
“Mr. Hamdok has betrayed the road map” of the transition, said Mahmoud Abidine, a protester in central Khartoum.
“What happened is a typical example of a military coup d’etat because it was followed by arrests, murders in the street, and against that there are only young people who demand freedom, democracy and a civilian regime, âhe said.
The general-in-chief has long insisted that the military’s decision was “not a coup” but a step “to rectify the transition” to full democracy that began with the ouster in 2019 of the autocratic president Omar al-Bashir.
Burhan pledged to lead Sudan to âfree and fair electionsâ in July 2023.
Hamdok, prime minister of the transitional government, defended the agreement, which he signed after his effective release from house arrest.
He said he had partnered with the military to “stop the bloodshed” resulting from the crackdown on street protests against the coup, and so as not to “squander the gains of the last two. years “.
But the new transitional council appointed on November 21 excluded representatives of the main bloc that led the anti-Bashir protests and demanded a transfer to a full-fledged civilian regime.
Rawiya Hamed, another protester, said she joined Monday’s protest to “reiterate that we reject the agreement between the army and Hamdok”.
Military and paramilitary leaders “don’t care about the country,” she said, a colorful blanket over her head.
In West Darfur state, near Chad, at least 46 people died on Saturday and Sunday in violence that escalated after an argument, state governor Khamis Abdallah told AFP.
The Doctors’ Committee, an independent union, put the figure at 48 people killed in the Krink region of Darfur by live ammunition.
That brings the number of people killed in about three weeks to around 100 in Sudan’s westernmost region, which has been ravaged by unrest for years.
Sudan, one of the poorest countries in the world, has also suffered from runaway inflation and embarked on drastic economic reforms, including cutting subsidies on gasoline and diesel and launching a float monetary managed.
These measures were part of the effort to achieve global debt relief.
But the coup sparked international condemnation and punitive measures from Western governments and the World Bank, jeopardizing the country’s access to aid and investment.
Thirty percent of the Sudanese population will need humanitarian aid next year, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned in a report on Monday, saying the rate is “the highest in a decade”.
He blamed the situation on the economic crisis in Khartoum and the Covid pandemic, flooding and disease and the fact that Sudan is also hosting millions of refugees and internally displaced people.