Hundreds of pro-democracy protesters rallied in Khartoum for a fourth day in a row on Sunday as an air of tension and fear hung over the Sudanese capital after security forces killed nine pro-democracy protesters and injured more than 600 others three days earlier.
There were no immediate reports of clashes between the protesters and security forces on Sunday. However, small numbers of protesters staged sit-ins at a handful of neighbourhoods in the city, residents said, signalling a change of tactics by the country's pro-democracy movement.
Other protesters barricaded roads into residential areas, disrupting traffic and denying access to security forces.
Most shops in central Khartoum remained closed and traffic was sparse. A large number of troops and members of the feared Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary were on duty across the city. Checkpoints set up on Thursday near the armed forces headquarters remained in place.
“It’s difficult to understand what is really happening. There is so much tension on the streets,” said a resident. “It is all very frightening.”
Sudan, particularly Khartoum, has been rocked by a wave of street protests since army chief Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan led a military takeover in October.
The protesters are demanding an end to the military's involvement in politics and the restoration of the country's civilian-led democratic transition.
At least 114 people have been killed during the protests and nearly 6,000 have been injured, including 629 on Thursday, according to medics.
The use of deadly force against the unarmed protesters has been strongly condemned by the West, which responded to the October 25 coup by suspending billions of dollars’ worth of economic aid and debt forgiveness.
A bid by the UN, African Union and the regional IGAD grouping to end to the political crisis has made little progress so far, with most pro-democracy groups refusing to negotiate directly with the ruling generals.
“Dialogue is the only way to guarantee stability in our country,” Gen Al Burhan’s deputy, RSF commander Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, told military cadets on Sunday in the western Darfur region.