Sudanese security forces have killed one anti-coup protester and wounded others during a crackdown on renewed pro-democracy protests, according to an independent union of medics.
“One protester was killed in Omdurman by the bullets of the putschist military council,” the Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors said in a statement on Saturday. It added that others were wounded by “live rounds” fired by security forces.
Earlier, witnesses said security forces had fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the capital, Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman. Despite disruption of communication networks, demonstrations also broke out in the city of Wad Madani, south of Khartoum.
“Protests are continuing, more and more people are joining the protests, they are chanting that they don’t want the military rule,” said Al Jazeera’s Resul Serdar, reporting from Khartoum.
He added that despite the heavy security presence, protesters seemed determined “to remain in the streets to show their resistance against military rule”.
The “million-person” marches on Saturday come two days after coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan reappointed himself head of the Sovereign Council, Sudan’s interim governing body.
Thursday’s move angered the pro-democracy alliance and frustrated Western countries that have urged the military to reverse its coup.
The Sudanese military seized power on October 25, dissolving the transitional government and arresting dozens of officials and politicians. The takeover upended the country’s fragile planned transition to democratic rule, more than two years after a popular uprising forced the removal of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir.
Saturday’s protests were called by the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA) and the Resistance Committees. Both groups were primary forces behind a popular uprising that led to the military overthrow of Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.
Both groups have opposed the return to the power-sharing deal that established the deposed transitional government in August 2019. They demand the handover of the government to civilians to lead the transition to democracy, with other political parties and movements joining the call.
“We’re not surprised by the people’s turnout because this is what’s been happening since October 25,” Samahir El Mubarak, SPA spokeswoman, told Al Jazeera from Khartoum.
“This is the voice of the Sudanese people refusing al-Burhan, refusing the military coup and refusing his council, and deeming this entire partnership invalid and totally refused by everybody.
“Unfortunately and as usually, these peaceful protests on the ground are being faced with tear gas, are being faced with gunshots.
“The number of protesters is increasing. Protesters are setting up barricades to try and protect themselves from the trucks and the vehicles of the joint forces that are facing the protesters,” El Mubarak said.
The United Nations envoy in Sudan, Volker Perthes, urged security forces to “exercise utmost restraint” during the planned protests and called for demonstrators to “maintain the principle of peaceful protest”.
Since the takeover, at least 15 anti-coup protesters have been killed due to excessive force by the country’s security forces, according to Sudanese doctors and the UN.
Ongoing mediation efforts seek to find a way out of the crisis.
Perthes said he held “good discussions” Friday with representatives of the resistance committees in Khartoum, civil society activists and Mohammed Hassan al-Taishi, who was a civilian member of the dissolved sovereign council. Nasredeen Abdulbari, justice minister of the deposed government, also took part.
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