Sudan’s protesters take to streets against army rule
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets on Sunday in Sudan’s capital and elsewhere in the country calling for civilian rule, nearly three months after the army forced out the autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
The demonstrations came amid a weeks-long 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 ensuring clampdown killed at least 128 people cross the county, according to protest organizers. Authorities say the toll was 61, including three security forces.
The marches 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 people killed since the uprising began. At first, the movement erupted in December over a failing economy and al-Bashir’s 30-year rule, and then stayed in the streets to protest the generals who replaced him.
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.
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 previous day, the military council had warned protest leaders that they will be held responsible for any vandalism or violence during the marches.
The protests came as the African Union and Ethiopia have stepped up their efforts to mediate an end to the crisis, and reach a deal over setting up a new transitional government.