Crowds take to Sudan’s streets after calls for rival protests

Thousands of supporters of Sudan’s transitional government have taken to the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and in other cities, with rival pro-military protesters also holding a sit-in outside the presidential palace.

Both sides appealed to their supporters to refrain from violence on Thursday, but nearly 40 people were injured or had breathing difficulties after security forces sought to break up protests using “force, bullets, and tear gas”, the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said.

The competing rallies were organised by opposing factions of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) civilian umbrella coalition, which spearheaded mass demonstrations in 2019 that led to the removal of longtime President Omar al-Bashir.

Under a fragile power-sharing deal between the military and the FFC, the country is currently being governed by a Sovereign Council of military and civilian leaders that oversees the transition until elections slated for 2023, as well as a civilian cabinet led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

The FFC’s mainstream faction has supported Hamdok’s government, while a breakaway, pro-military grouping has demanded the dissolution of his interim cabinet.

Demonstrators joined marches organised by the mainstream faction in several cities across Sudan including Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman, Port Sudan in the east, and Atbara to the north.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said 37 people were injured in the protests, which it blamed on government forces, including four gunshot victims.

State television said police used tear gas and live bullets to break up protests in front of the parliament building in Omdurman.

In a statement, police said rogue protesters in Omdurman set a police vehicle on fire and attacked police officers, shooting two. Officers then used a “legal amount” of riot control to disperse the crowd, it said. Witnesses said protesters were tear gassed heavily.

“Also, hospitals have already been named in case people get injured in the protests,” she added.

“Protesters want the FFC to pressure the military to continue with the revolution which started in December 2018 and to form a legislative council that will ensure that the agreement signed in 2019 between the military and civilians will be implemented,” said Morgan.

She added that the protesters were eager to show their support for the FFC and for them to push forward with the formation of a civilian government.

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