Tear gas fired at Sudan protest against coup, arrests

6. Sudan
Sudanese protesters chant slogans as they march during a demonstration calling for civilian rule and denouncing the military administration, in the capital Khartoum's twin city of Umdurman, on February 14, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
KHARTOUM — Sudanese security forces fired tear gas Monday at protesters rallying against last year's military coup and the arrest of several political figures and pro-democracy activists, an AFP correspondent said.اضافة اعلان

Regular mass protests have rocked the troubled northeast African nation since an October 25 military takeover led by army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan.

The power grab derailed a fragile power-sharing agreement between the army and civilians negotiated after the 2019 ouster of longtime autocrat Omar AI l-Bashir, and despite international pressure, authorities have shown little inclination to compromise, as arrests of civilian leaders have proliferated lately. 

Thousands of demonstrators rallied in the capital Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman on Monday, AFP reporters said, while protests also took place in the eastern city of Port Sudan and in the western Darfur region, according to witnesses.

In Khartoum, protesters carried Sudanese flags and red balloons as well as banners that read: "Today is the nation's love day" as the rallies coincided with Valentine's Day.

Other shouted slogans demanding authorities release figures arrested since the October military power grab.

"We are demanding the release of resistance committee members and politicians who were unjustly arrested and some of whom are facing fabricated charges," protester Khaled Mohamed told AFP.

Security forces fired tear gas at crowds who rallied near the presidential palace in central Khartoum, an AFP correspondent said. 

Tear gas was also fired at protesters in Omdurman and North Khartoum, witnesses said. 

Hunger strike

Detainees in Soba prison in Khartoum's periphery entered a hunger strike to protest against prison conditions, the independent Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said. 

"Some have been detained without facing charges and others still await investigations," this group said in a statement. 

Since the coup, authorities have arrested many activists who belong to so-called resistance committees who have been instrumental in organizing protests.

"The number of people detained arbitrarily and without criminal charges has exceeded 100," the Sudanese Professionals Association said Monday.

The group, which also calls for anti-coup protests, said the detainees are aged between 16 and 60.

On Sunday, Sudanese authorities arrested Mohamed Al-Fekki, a civilian former member of the ruling Sovereign Council which led the country under the 2019 power-sharing agreement. 

Last week, authorities arrested ex-minister Khaled Omar Youssef and Wagdi Saleh, the spokesman of Sudan's main civilian bloc, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC).

Those arrests came just a day after they joined an FFC delegation for talks with UN special representative Volker Perthes, as part of efforts launched last month to resolve Sudan's deepening crisis.

Demonstrators on Monday also held up pictures of protesters killed since the October coup.

The doctors' committee says at least 79 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in a crackdown on the pro-democracy demonstrators.

On Saturday, Burhan said investigations were underway to determine who was behind those deaths.

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