Sudan security forces kill five anti-coup protesters, medics say

Sudanese security forces firing live bullets and tear gas have killed five anti-coup protesters and wounded dozens of others during a crackdown on renewed pro-democracy protests, according to an independent union of medics.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said on Saturday four people were killed by gunshots and one from a tear gas canister in the capital, Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman, adding that many others were wounded as demonstrators were “facing excessive repression using all forms of force, including live bullets”.

It said that an 18-year-old and a 35-year-old were among those killed “by bullets of the putschist military council”.

Security forces stormed one hospital in Omdurman and detained several of the wounded, the doctors added.

Pascal Cuttat, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross’s delegation in Sudan, said in a Twitter post that medical assistance should not be obstructed.

“The passage of ambulances must be allowed, the work of medical professionals must be facilitated and the injured must have access to the care they need,” he said. “The medical mission has to be protected.”

Sudanese police said Saturday’s demonstrations were peaceful but quickly got off track, state television reported. Police said 39 police officers were seriously injured after protesters attacked police stations.

‘Resistance against military rule’

Continuing a campaign of civil disobedience and protests, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital and elsewhere to protest against last month’s coup and the creation of a new governing council by the head of the army this week that excluded any representatives from the civilian Forces of Freedom and Change alliance.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Thursday reappointed himself as head of the Sovereign Council, while Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the leader of the feared paramilitary Rapid Support Forces who is also known as Hemeti, kept his post as deputy. The military was due to hand over the body’s leadership to civilians in the coming months.

The developments have angered the pro-democracy alliance and frustrated Western countries that have urged the military to reverse its coup.

“Protests are continuing, more and more people are joining the protests, they are chanting that they don’t want the military rule,” said Al Jazeera’s Resul Serdar, reporting from the protests in Khartoum.

He added that despite the heavy security presence, protesters seemed determined “to remain in the streets to show their resistance against military rule”.

The Sudanese military seized power on October 25, dissolving the transitional government and detaining dozens of officials and politicians, including Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok who remains under house arrest. The takeover upended the country’s fragile planned transition to democratic rule, more than two years after a popular uprising forced the removal of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir.

Security forces on Saturday closed bridges between central Khartoum, Omdurman and Khartoum North to vehicles and pedestrians, laying barbed wire to block access. Roads to strategic sites were also shut.

As protesters began to gather in the early afternoon around the capital, security forces moved quickly to try to disperse them, firing tear gas and chasing demonstrators down side streets to attempt to prevent them from reaching central meeting points.

“People were surprised that they fired the tear gas so early,” said one protester in Omdurman.

Protesters “retreated into the neighbourhood and barricaded the streets and now they’re coming back to the main road”.

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