The Associated PressKHARTOUM (AP) — Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Sudan’s capital and elsewhere in the country Sunday calling for civilian rule nearly three months after the army forced out long-ruling autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
A government official said at least seven people had been killed and nearly 200 injured during the demonstrations.
The protests came amid a weekslong standoff between the ruling military council and protest leaders. Talks between the two sides over a power-sharing agreement collapsed earlier this month when security forces violently broke up a protest camp in Khartoum.
The ensuing clampdown resulted in at least 128 people killed across Sudan, according to protest organizers. Authorities put the death toll at 61, including three security forces.
Soliman Abdel-Gabar, acting undersecretary of health, reported Sunday night that at least seven people died during the day’s disturbances. He said 181 people were injured, including 27 with bullet wounds.
The marches, the first since the June 3 crackdown, also mark the 30th anniversary of the Islamist-backed coup that brought al-Bashir to power in 1989, toppling Sudan’s last elected government. The military removed al-Bashir in April amid mass protests against his rule.
The crowds gathered at several points across the capital and its sister city of Omdurman before marching toward the homes of those killed since the uprising began. “This is a very important day for the Sudanese people,” protester Hamdi Karamallah said.
The protest movement erupted in December, triggered by an economic crisis. The protesters remained in the streets after al-Bashir was overthrown and jailed, fearing that the military would cling to power or preserve much of his regime.
Osman Mirghani, a Sudanese analyst and the editor of the daily newspaper al-Tayar, said the marches “changed the equation” in favor of the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, which represents the protesters.
“Now, all pressure cards are in the hands of the FDFC. The marches corrected the situation,” he said.
On Sunday, protesters chanted anti-military slogans like “Burhan’s council, just fall,” according to video clips circulated online. Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan is head of the military council.
Video clips showed protesters running away from security forces in the streets of Khartoum and seeking shelter from clouds of tear gas.
On a highway leading to Khartoum’s international airport, a convoy of troops and riot police allowed some demonstrators to pass through as they headed toward the house of a protester who was killed earlier this month.
The protester’s mother was standing outside and joined the demonstration. They waved Sudanese flags and chanted slogans calling for civilian rule.
Mohammed Yousef al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, a leading protest organization, told The Associated Press that security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters in Omdurman and the district of Bahri in the capital.
He said protests also erupted in Atbara, a railway city north of the capital and the birthplace of the uprising that led to al-Bashir’s ouster.
The Sudan Doctors Committee, the medical arm of the SPA, said a protester in his 20s was shot dead in Atbara. Nazim Sirraj, a prominent activist, said at least four people were killed in Omdurman.Speech