Sudanese anti-coup protester killed in security crackdown

1.  Sudan
Sudanese demonstrators take part in a rally to protest against last year's military coup, in the capital Khartoum, on January 30, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
KHARTOUM — Sudanese security forces killed a protester Sunday as they cracked down on thousands marching for civilian rule, medics said, taking the number killed since last year's military coup to a least 79.اضافة اعلان

"Blood is the path to freedom," protesters waving the Sudanese flag chanted, as they marched through the streets of Omdurman, which lies across the Nile River from the capital Khartoum.

"Go back to the barracks," protesters in eastern state of Gedaref shouted at soldiers, witnesses said.

Pro-democracy activists have upped calls for protests to restore a transition to civilian rule, following the October 25 military takeover led by general Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan.

The coup, one of several in Sudan's post-independence history, derailed a power-sharing arrangement between the army and civilians that had been painstakingly negotiated after the 2019 ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

Sunday's demonstrations took place in the capital Khartoum, as well as in Omdurman, Gedaref, and the northern cities of Atbara and Dongola, according to witnesses.

Volleys of tear gas

Sudanese authorities warned protesters against heading towards Khartoum city center, with security forces sealing off streets leading to the presidential palace.

But protesters in the capital converged in large numbers as they headed towards the palace, and police fired volleys of tear gas canisters when they approached, an AFP correspondent said.

A 27-year-old protester was killed in Khartoum after suffering a "wound to the chest ... by coup forces," the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said in a statement, adding that it was not immediately clear what caused the injury.

Several protesters were seen Sunday suffering breathing difficulties and bleeding from wounds from tear gas canisters.

At least 79 people have so far been killed and hundreds wounded in the crackdown on anti-coup demonstrations, according to the independent group of medics, while authorities have also rounded up hundreds of pro-democracy activists.

Sudan's authorities have repeatedly denied using live ammunition against demonstrators, and insist scores of security personnel have been wounded during the protests.

A police general was stabbed to death during the unrest earlier this month.

'Not the end'

The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella group instrumental in organizing the anti-Bashir protests and latterly the anti-coup rallies, vowed the demonstrations were "not the end," it said in a statement ahead of the latest rally.

"We will not leave the streets until the fall of the coup regime, achieving a democratic state, and holding to account all the murderers and those who committed crimes against the people," the statement added.

The UN, which has recently launched talks between factions in a bid to resolve the post-coup crisis, has warned the authorities against using force to stop political protests.

"Peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are human rights that must be protected," the UN mission in Sudan said ahead of the protests, urging authorities to allow the demonstrations "to pass without violence." 

The US State Department's Bureau of African Affairs said Sudan's military leaders had committed to dialogue to resolve the crisis during a visit this month to Khartoum by senior US diplomats.

"Yet their actions — more violence against protesters, detention of civil society activists — tell a different story, and will have consequences," it said.

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