Defiant masses in Sudan hold anti-coup protest ignoring lockdown

2021-12-30 18:41:22
Defiant masses in Sudan hold anti-coup protest ignoring lockdown

Sudanese demonstrators held fresh protests Thursday against the army’s October 25 coup, defying a tight lockdown in the country’s capital Khartoum.

According to local sources, security forces fired tear gas at protesters trying to march towards the presidential palace in Khartoum.

Angry demonstrators reached within a few hundred meters of the palace where military chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan is based, before troops, police and paramilitary units dispersed the crowd.

The protests were the 11th day of major demonstrations since the coup, which saw Abdallah Hamdok removed and then reinstated as prime minister. The demonstrators have demanded that the military play no role in government during a transition to free elections.

The activists are calling for a transition to civilian rule. Witnesses reported similar anti-coup protests in Madani, south of the capital, and the cities of Kassala and Port Sudan in the east.

Pro-democracy activists have kept up a campaign of street demonstrations against the army’s takeover, despite a crackdown that has seen at least 48 people die in protest-related violence, according to the independent Doctors’ Committee.

Hamdok had been held under effective house arrest for weeks before returning to the prime ministerial post under the November deal, which promised elections for July 2023.

But the agreement was widely criticized as a gift to the military that gave a cloak of legitimacy to its coup, with pro-democracy protesters accusing Hamdok of “betrayal”.

Activists, politicians and protesters in Sudan say they are apathetic towards rumors that Hamdok is preparing to resign only a month after returning to power in a deal with the military.

Deputy head of the moderate centrist Ummah National Party, Mohammad Abdullah, simply said: “There is a recognized distinction between who Hamdok was before and after the deal.”

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