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Sudan security forces fire on anti-coup protesters

January 6, 2022

At least three people have been killed in Sudan after authorities fired at anti-coup protesters. Thousands of people have taken to the streets again to show their anger at a military takeover in October.

Sudanese protesters rallying against the military, take to the streets of the capital Khartoum, on January 6, 2022
Protesters in Khartoum were wounded and struggling to breathe due to the firing of tear gas, according to witnessesImage: AFP/Getty Images

Sudanese security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at anti-coup protesters, killing at least three people and injuring some 300, witnesses told reporters on Thursday. Thousands of people marched on the streets in the capital, Khartoum, and other cities to protest the October military coup.

Crackdowns on demonstrations since the coup have now left at least 60 people dead and many more injured, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee.

Authorities have regularly denied using live rounds in confronting protests, a statement international groups dispute.

Thursday's deaths came a day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken appealed on Twitter for Sudanese security forces to "cease using lethal force against demonstrators & commit to an independent investigation."

What happened in the latest anti-coup protests?

In Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum, two protesters were killed, while in the Sudanese capital's district of Bahri, one demonstrator was shot and killed, according to activist Nazim Sirag and the Sudan Doctors Committee.

Sirag said one of the fatalities in Omdurman was a man who was shot in the head and died before reaching the hospital. Many more were wounded, including by gunshots, the activist and the committee said.

Demonstrations also took place in Wad Madani, Atbara, the central state of North Kordofan and in the Central and South Darfur states, according to witnesses.

"We will not stop until we get our country back," Samar al-Tayeb, 22, told the AFP news agency.

Though the mobile internet was cut from mid-morning, some live videos posted on social media showed protesters waving Sudanese flags and chanting, "Power to the people!" and "The military belongs in the barracks!" Other images also showed clouds of tear gas and protesters throwing stones and empty tear gas canisters at security forces.

Sudanese protesters rallying against the military, walk past tyres set ablaze by fellow demonstrators
Demonstrators set fire to tires and carried banners calling for civilian rule in SudanImage: AFP/Getty Images

Why are the Sudanese protesting?

Pro-democracy activists have maintained momentum on the streets for their movement against the October 25 coup, when the military deposed civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

Forces held him under house arrest for weeks. 

Military leaders have justified the coup as a "correction" necessary to stabilize the country for civilian rule. They also said peaceful protests were permitted and that they would hold to account anyone responsible for civilian casualties.

In November, the US sealed a partnership deal with Hamdok. It saw him reinstated with elections promised for 2023, though his credibility took a blow in the process. After failing to reach a compromise between the military and the pro-democracy movement, Hamdok resigned earlier this week. 

When he stepped down, he said Sudan was at a "dangerous crossroads threatening its very survival."

The military takeover came more than two years after an uprising forced longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government out of office in April 2019.

Protesters have called for the military to return power to civilians. 

Sudanese protesters rallying against the military, take to the streets of the capital Khartoum with their arms held in the air
Pro-democracy demonstrations have taken place in Sudan since an October military coupImage: AFP/Getty Images

sms/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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