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Thousands Rally in Sudan After 9 Killed in Protests

Thousands Rally in Sudan After 9 Killed in Protests

Friday, 1 July, 2022 - 14:45
Protesters march in a rally against military rule, following the last coup and to commemorate the 3rd anniversary of demonstrations in Khartoum, Sudan June 30, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Thousands took to the streets Friday in Sudan's capital, a day after nine people were killed in demonstrations against the country's ruling generals.

Sudanese security forces fired tear gas at protesters near the presidential palace in Khartoum.

The country has been rocked by near-weekly protests since an Oct. 25 coup upended its fragile transition to democracy.

In and near Khartoum, large funeral marches took place for some of those killed the day before, while others gathered after Friday prayers at mosques in the country's capital. Online, photographs of the dead were posted, in some cases in an effort to identify them.

Sudanese military authorities have met the protests with a deadly crackdown, which has so far killed 113 people, including 18 children.

The Sudan's Doctors Committee, a medical group that monitors casualties from demonstrations, said security forces shot and killed nine people, including a child, in or near Khartoum during the rallies on Thursday. The demonstrations coincided with widespread internet disruptions. Internet monitors and activists say the government has crippled communications to prevent gatherings and slow the spread of news on days when large protest turnout is expected.

Sudan’s leading pro-democracy groups — Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change and the Resistance Committees — had called for nationwide protest against the coup. The takeover upended the country’s short-lived transition to democracy following the 2019 ouster of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir.

Since the coup, the UN political mission in Sudan, the African Union, and the eight-nation east African regional Intergovernmental Authority in Development group have been trying to broker a way out of the political impasse. But talks have yielded no results so far.

In a joint statement tweeted Friday, the three bodies expressed “disappointment over the continued use of excessive force by security forces and lack of accountability for such actions, despite repeated commitments by authorities.”

Western governments have repeatedly called on the generals to allow for peaceful protests.

“We are heartbroken at the tragic loss of life in yesterday’s protests,” the US Embassy in Sudan said in a statement Friday. “We urge all parties to resume negotiations and call on peaceful voices to rise above those who advocate for or commit violence.”

Police said Friday an investigation was launched after a video circulated online, appearing to show security forces prodding and kicking a badly injured protester in the street the day before. According to pro-democracy groups, the protester later died. In a statement released on the website of the country's state-run news agency, police said the video shows security personnel violating orders to not approach demonstrations with firearms. It said those involved would be held accountable.

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