Sudan police fire tear gas as thousands demand civilian rule

IN SUMMARY
  • The planned “million-man” march is being seen as a test for protest organisers whose movement has been hit by a June 3 raid on a Khartoum sit-in and a subsequent internet blackout that has curbed their ability to mobilise support.
  • On Sunday, police fired tear gas in the northern Khartoum district of Bari and in Mamura and Arkweit, in the capital’s east, as protesters chanted “Civilian rule! Civilian rule!”, witnesses said.
  • The feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) deployed in pick-up trucks mounted with machineguns in several Khartoum squares and many shops were shut, an AFP correspondent said.
  • RSF chief General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo warned he would not tolerate any “vandalism” at the protests.

KHARTOUM,

Police fired tear gas at protesters in Khartoum on Sunday as thousands gathered for a mass demonstration against Sudan’s ruling generals, amid international calls for restraint to avoid a new deadly crackdown.

The planned “million-man” march is being seen as a test for protest organisers whose movement has been hit by a June 3 raid on a Khartoum sit-in and a subsequent internet blackout that has curbed their ability to mobilise support.

Dozens of demonstrators were killed and hundreds wounded when armed men in military fatigues stormed the sit-in outside army headquarters, shooting and beating protesters who had camped there since April 6.

On Sunday, police fired tear gas in the northern Khartoum district of Bari and in Mamura and Arkweit, in the capital’s east, as protesters chanted “Civilian rule! Civilian rule!”, witnesses said.

Security forces also fired tear gas at demonstrators in the eastern town of Gadaref, a witness said.

Sudanese protest

Sudanese people living in Lebanon protest against military rule in their home country on June 30, 2019 in Beirut. PHOTO | ANWAR AMRO | AFP

MEDIATION

The latest demonstrations come at a time when Ethiopia and the African Union (AU) are jointly mediating between the protesters and generals.

The European Union, several Western nations and rights groups have called on the generals to avoid any violence.

Hundreds of men and women, flashing victory signs and carrying Sudanese flags, flooded the streets of Al-Sahafa neighbourhood of Khartoum, an AFP correspondent reported.

“We are here for the martyrs of the (June 3) sit-in. We want a civilian state that guarantees our freedom. We want to get rid of military dictatorship,” said Zeinab, 23.

Others took to the streets of Jabra neighbourhood, with many chanting revolutionary slogans, witnesses said, while rallies were under way in other districts.

Protests were also launched in the cities of Al-Obied, Madani and Khasma el-Girba, witnesses said.

Sudanese protestors

Sudanese protestors chant slogans demanding civilian rule on June 30, 2019 during a rally in Khartoum’s southern al-Sahafa district. PHOTO | AFP

FEARED FORCES

The feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) deployed in pick-up trucks mounted with machineguns in several Khartoum squares and many shops were shut, an AFP correspondent said.

RSF chief General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo warned he would not tolerate any “vandalism” at the protests.

“There are vandals, there are people who have an agenda, a hidden agenda, we don’t want problems,” Dagalo, who is also the ruling military council’s deputy chief, said Saturday.

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