Seven persons have been killed onSunday as tens of thousands of protesters in Sudan took to the streets to call for civilian rule.
It was the first mass rally since a bloody crackdown on demonstrators — a show of street power despite heavy troop deployments by the ruling generals.
The “million-man” march had been seen as a test for protest organisers after their push for civilian rule was hit by the June 3 raid on a Khartoum protest camp and a subsequent internet blackout that curbed their ability to mobilise support.
Dozens of demonstrators were killed and hundreds wounded when armed men in military fatigues stormed the sit-in on June 3 outside army headquarters, shooting and beating protesters who had camped there since April 6.
On Sunday, police fired tear gas on protesters approaching the presidential palace after organisers called for a march on the building that houses offices of the ruling transitional military council, an AFP correspondent reported.
“We call on our revolutionary people in the capital to go to the republican palace… to seek justice for the martyrs and for an unconditional transfer of power to civilians,” the Sudanese Professionals Association that first launched protests against now ousted ruler Omar al-Bashir said on Twitter.
Police also fired tear gas at protesters in the northern Khartoum district of Bahri and in Mamura and Arkweit, in the capital’s east, as thousands of protesters chanted “Civilian rule! Civilian rule!”, witnesses said.
“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 protester Nada Adel, 28.
“Despite what they did at the sit-in, despite the people they killed… the revolution will not die in the hearts of the youth.”
Elsewhere, security forces used tear gas to disperse protests in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman and the eastern town of Gadaref.
Late on Sunday the official SUNA news agency quoting a health ministry official said “seven were killed” in the protests, without elaborating how they died or who they were.
It said that another 181 people were wounded, including 27 with bullets.
Separately 10 members of regular forces were also wounded, including three from the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces shot by “live ammunition,” it said.
Earlier a doctors’ committee linked to the protest movement said that five protesters had been killed during the day, including four in Omdurman.
It also said that several more were seriously wounded by gunshots fired by “the military council militias”.
The deputy chief of the ruling military council said that unknown snipers had shot at least three members of RSF and five or six civilians in Omdurman.
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