1 Jul 2019

Protesters killed in Sudan on 30th anniversary of Bashir coup

12:25 pm on 1 July 2019

Vast crowds have taken to the streets in Sudan to demonstrate against military rule, with reports of deaths and injuries.

Sudanese protesters march in a mass demonstration against the country's ruling generals in the capital Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman.

Sudanese protesters march in a mass demonstration against the country's ruling generals in the capital Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman. Photo: AFP or licensors

The state news agency said seven people had died and 181 were hurt, citing the health ministry.

The pro-opposition Central Committee of Sudan Doctors spoke of at least five protesters being killed.

Sudan has been in turmoil since the military ousted President Omar al-Bashir in April.

That followed a popular uprising against his rule. Mr Bashir seized power in a coup 30 years ago, on 30 June 1989.

Sunday's protest has been the biggest since dozens were killed in a crackdown on pro-democracy activists on 3 June.

Tens of thousands defied the heavy presence of troops to demand that the ruling military council hand power to a civilian-led administration.

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.

The deputy head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC), General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, said: "There are snipers who are firing on people, they shot three members of the Rapid Support Force and five or six citizens. There are infiltrators, people who want to jeopardise progress."

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

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.

On Saturday, paramilitary forces broke up a news conference called by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), one of the main organisers of the protest.

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

General Dagalo, also known as Hemeti, is a former ally of Mr Bashir who switched sides to force him out of power. He warned of "vandals" and a "concealed agenda" that might take advantage of the demonstrations.

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

Talks between the TMC and the opposition collapsed after the 3 June crackdown, when security forces violently suppressed protests in Khartoum.

They have not resumed despite mediation by the African Union (AU) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.


Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs