Hundreds of thousands of protesters flood Khartoum demanding end of army rule in Sudan: 7 protesters killed


Hundreds of thousands of protesters flooded Khartoum Sunday demanding end of army rule in Sudan while security forces killed at least seven protesters. There are reports of 181 injuries also. The army rule is supported by Islamist groups favoring Sharia law.

Sunday’s mass demonstrations – “Millions March” – were the first since security forces killed more than 100 people during the bloody dispersal of a protest camp outside the military headquarters on June 3. The military headquarters was the focal point of the people’s  months-long struggle for democracy.

Protest rallies were held in other cities of Sudan also.

Biggest demonstration

Media reports said:

Sunday’s demonstration was a massive show of strength by the pro-democracy movement.

People joined the biggest demonstration since the junta took power, despite an internet blackout and the security forces blocking bridges to prevent people from joining the Million March.

Protesters waved the Sudanese flag and chanted “civilian, civilian” and “blood for blood” in Khartoum during the Millions March as security forces looked on.

Opposition groups posted videos of what they said were rallies in other cities.

There was no immediate comment from the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) which had warned a day earlier that the coalition would bear the responsibility for any loss of life or damage resulting from the rallies.

Sunday’s demonstrations were also the largest since a deadly security service raid on a protest camp on June 3, which is being called as the “June 3rd massacre.” Military leaders have denied ordering the June 3 raid and said a crackdown on criminals nearby had spilled over to the sit-in. The ruling military council has said some officers had been detained for presumed responsibility.

Military rulers replaced long-time President Omar al-Bashir on April 11 after months of demonstrations against his rule. Opposition groups kept up their streets protests as they pressed the military to hand over government affairs to civilians. The June 30 protest coincides with the 30th anniversary of the 1989 coup by al-Bashir.

Talks broke down and protests paused after security services raided a sit-in protest outside the defense ministry on June 3. Mediators led by the African Union and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have since been trying to broker a return to direct talks.

There has been a run of smaller demonstrations in recent days, and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), the opposition coalition, called for a million people to turn out Sunday.

Members of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), one of the main opposition groups, said security services raided its headquarters Saturday night as it was about to give a news conference.

The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said four people were killed in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman while one protester died after being hit by a bullet in the chest in the town of Atbara.

“There are several seriously wounded by the bullets of the military council militias in hospitals of the capital and the provinces,” it added.

An AFP report said:

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators near the presidential palace and three other districts in Khartoum.

Tear gas was also fired in Omdurman and the eastern town of Gadaref.

“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,” one 23-year-old protester named only as Zeinab told AFP.

The junta has said it is prepared to resume talks with the opposition.

On Saturday, paramilitary forces broke up a news conference called by the SPA.

The military said it would hold the opposition responsible for any violence or loss of life in the protests.

Gen Dagalo, also known as Hemeti, warned of “vandals” and a “concealed agenda” that might take advantage of the demonstrations.

Gen Dagalo was formerly an ally of Bashir but switched sides to force him out of power.

He commands one of Sudan’s most dreaded paramilitary forces and has been accused of both human rights abuses in the conflict in Darfur and of using the paramilitaries to crack down on protesters on 3 June.

Keep up the revolution

A CNN report said:

“Just fall, just fall,” Hadia chanted, her voice cutting through the din as a convoy of paramilitaries rolled past a mass of flag-waving protesters in downtown Khartoum.

She was one of the protesters who hit the streets on Sunday, responding to calls by protest leaders to keep up their “revolution” and pressure the ruling generals to hand power to civilians.

Despite clouds of tear gas and a large deployment of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), cheering crowds thronged the avenues of the capital.

Wrapped in large Sudanese flags, protesters whistled, cheered and chanted the slogans of the uprising.

“Civilian! Civilian!” they shouted, accompanied by a pulsing cacophony of car horns.

“Free revolutionaries, we will finish the job!”

At times, the processions trailed through intersections where riot police and RSF troops were deployed, accompanied by pick-ups mounted with heavy machine guns.

“We want a civilian government … we want a safe country and prosperity,” hollered Hadia Abdel Rahman, her one year-old daughter balanced on her hip.

“We celebrated Eid (main Islamic festival) with the sound of bullets and the blood of martyrs,” said Hadia.

“Our children are being killed in the streets,” added the 29-year-old.

Khaled Abdel Karim carried on his shoulders his four-year-old nephew, who was carrying a large Sudanese flag.

“The country has been suffering for 30 years … We are here to let the younger generations know” what happened, Abdel Karim said.

“We must anchor in them the love of the nation.”

The revolution will not die

Marchers on Sunday also passed the homes of some people killed since protests broke in December after the government tripled the price of bread.

The mother of Mahjoub al-Taj and dozens of demonstrators stood in a small dusty courtyard named in honor of her son.

“We are all Mahjoub,” they chanted in unison.

They paused only to quietly recite a short prayer in memory of the student, killed in December during clashes near his university.

“You are all my children,” said his mother, a Sudanese flag tied around her shoulders.

She shifted slowly between sobs and protest chants, tears running down her cheeks.

Nada Adel, a pink veil loosely framing her face and pierced nose, said the protests would continue until the generals handed over power.

“We’re fed up with the military. For decades, this country has been ruled by the military. It didn’t work and it will not work,” said the 28-year-old.

“Despite what they did at the sit-in, despite the people they killed … the revolution will not die in the hearts of the youth.”

Solidarity rallies

Protests have been planned in major cities around the world such as Washington, London, Dublin, Kuala Lumpur, etc., in solidarity with the Sudanese protesters.


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