Sudan security forces kill nine protesters as tens of thousands rally against military

Crowds were demonstrating against its seizure of power last October

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Sudanese security forces on Thursday shot dead nine protesters as large crowds thought to number in the tens of thousands took to the streets of the capital, Khartoum.

The death toll rose to nine on Friday when a protester was hit in the abdomen by a bullet, the Sudan Central Doctors Committee wrote on Twitter.

The protesters were demonstrating against the military’s seizure of power last October.

The doctors' committee also announced the death of a protester who was hit by a rifle butt on June 24, taking the death toll among protesters since October to 113.

In central Khartoum, police used tear gas and water cannon to keep people from marching towards the Republican Palace in the heart of the city on Thursday, according to witnesses.

In Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city, police used tear gas and live fire to stop protesters from crossing bridges on the Nile to reach Khartoum.

The protests mark the anniversary of the 1989 coup that brought now-ousted leader Omar Al Bashir to power.

They also commemorate major rallies in 2019 against the generals who seized power after removing Al Bashir and who ordered the violent break-up on June 3 of a sit-in encampment outside the armed forces’ headquarters in Khartoum. At least 120 protesters were killed.

Late on Wednesday, the authorities closed off the Nile bridges linking Khartoum with Omdurman and Bahri, another city to the north. Early on Thursday, they cut internet and phone access in a bid to reduce the organisers’ ability to mobilise. They restored the service after nightfall.

Some of Thursday's protesters carried banners calling for justice for those killed in previous demonstrations — a total of 108 fatalities after Thursday’s deaths.

Other protesters chanted, "Burhan, Burhan, back to the barracks and hand over your companies," a reference to army chief Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan and to the military's vast economic interests.

On Wednesday, medics aligned with the protest movement said the security forces shot dead a child during protests in Bahri. Thursday's seven deaths consisted of five in Omdurman and one each in Bahri and Khartoum.

There were large numbers of injuries and attempts by the security forces to storm hospitals in Khartoum where people were being treated, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said.

There was no immediate comment from the Sudanese authorities.

The UN's envoy in Sudan, Volker Perthes, called this week on the authorities to abide by a pledge to protect the right to peaceful assembly. "Violence against protesters will not be tolerated," he said.

Mr Perthes, whose comments earned him a reprimand at the Sudanese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, has been leading efforts to mediate a way out of Sudan’s political crisis. His efforts, however, have made little headway.

Updated: July 01, 2022, 10:41 AM