Sudan protesters dismantle Khartoum sit-in camps

Influential neighbourhood groups have organised demonstrations since the October 25 military takeover

An anti-military sit-in in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Eid Al Adha. AFP
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Two of the four Khartoum camps hosting sit-ins designed to force Sudan's army to return power to civilians have been dismantled, organisers said.

The protests began 10 days ago after security forces killed nine demonstrators in anti-coup rallies involving tens of thousands of people on June 30, pro-democracy medics said.

In response to the deadliest violence so far this year, protesters called for "unlimited" sit-ins the following day, in an attempt to end military rule.

They set up four camps, two in the centre of Khartoum on streets they barricaded with bricks and one each in the capital's sister cities of Omdurman and Khartoum North.

But on Monday, while most Sudanese celebrated Eid Al Adha for a third day, "resistance committees" announced they were breaking up the Omdurman camp.

The committees are influential neighbourhood groups that have been organising demonstrations since the October 25 coup.

A sit-in outside Khartoum's Al Jawda Hospital was broken up on Friday, activists said. It ended on the eve of Eid Al Adha, a major holiday for which many residents of Khartoum return to their provincial homes for several days.

The other two sit-ins were continuing, even if the number of demonstrators participating has fallen because of the holiday.

Rallies on June 30 and the subsequent sit-ins marked a resurgence of the protest movement for civilian rule. Although the movement had continued to hold near-weekly anti-coup rallies, they appeared to decline in intensity.

Medics say a total of 114 people have been killed in the crackdown by security forces against protesters since the coup, which disrupted a transition to civilian rule forged after the 2019 overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar Al Bashir.

The coup drew international condemnation and cuts in vital aid.

Four days into the sit-ins, army chief Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan vowed to make way for a civilian government but activists remain deeply sceptical of his pledge.

Sudanese protesters stand behind road blocks as they take part in an anti-military demonstration. AFP

On Thursday pro-democracy groups, including political parties and resistance committees, announced their plans to establish a revolutionary council in opposition to Burhan.

Democratic interludes have been rare in Sudan's history and the military dominates lucrative companies specialising in everything from agriculture to infrastructure projects.

Updated: July 12, 2022, 8:10 AM
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