The death toll from Sudan’s latest protests against last month’s military coup has risen to eight, taking to at least 23 the number of protesters killed since the takeover on October 25, a medics’ union linked to the pro-democracy movement has said.
The deaths make Saturday’s protests the deadliest in a single day since the coup, led by army chief Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan.
“The confirmed number of martyrs since the coup has so far reached 23 people,” the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said. It named the eight protesters killed, including a 13-year-old girl who suffered a gunshot wound to the head outside her home.
The committee said more than 200 people were wounded on Saturday, half of whom suffered gunshot wounds apparently caused by live rounds. The remainder were injured by teargas or rubber bullets, bringing the number of wounded to at least 500 since October 25.
State television has said 39 police personnel were “severely wounded” in clashes with protesters on Saturday. Officers accused demonstrators of attacking police stations and said the rallies “began peaceful but quickly veered off course”.
They denied using live rounds. The relatively high number of casualties from Saturday’s protests lend credibility to accounts shared by participants describing excessive use of force by security personnel. Witnesses said snipers shot at protesters from rooftops and police fired a disproportionate number of teargas canisters, given the size of crowds.
The coup has been met by near-daily street protests as well as strong international condemnation and the suspension of hundreds of millions of dollars in western aid. Pro-democracy groups have said they plan another day of mass rallies against the coup on Wednesday.
In announcing the coup, Gen Al Burhan declared an indefinite state of emergency, dismissed a civilian-led government and placed its head, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, under house arrest. Members of his Cabinet were also detained.
In the three weeks since the coup, Gen Al Burhan ordered the arrest of scores of activists, politicians, journalists, trade union leaders and prominent members of the powerful Neighbourhood Resistance Committees, the driving force behind months of street protests that forced the military to oust dictator Omar Al Bashir in April 2019 after 29 years in power.
Saturday's violence came two days after Gen Al Burhan announced a new civilian-military ruling body to replace the one he dissolved on October 25. The 14-member council held its first meeting on Sunday.