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Several protesters killed in Sudan amid mass rallies against military rule

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At least five Sudanese protesters were killed on Thursday as security forces tried to destroy mass gatherings of protesters demanding an end to military rule, pro-democracy medics reported.

In one of the most violent days of this year, amid an ongoing crackdown on the anti-coup movement, AFP correspondents reported that security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse tens of thousands of protesters.

“Even if we die, the military won’t rule us,” chanted protesters, calling for the reversal of an October military coup by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan that urged foreign governments to cut aid, sparking a chronic economic crisis. crisis was exacerbated.

Two of the four were shot dead by “bullets in the chest”, and another by “a bullet to the head,” the medics said.

“Down with the rule of Burhan,” the crowd chanted as protests and violence erupted in both the capital Khartoum and its suburbs, including its twin city of Omdurman.

Doctors also reported “several attempts to storm hospitals in Khartoum”, with security forces firing tear gas at a hospital where some of those injured had been taken away during the protests.

An AFP correspondent said internet and telephone lines had been disrupted since the early hours of Thursday, a measure often imposed by Sudanese authorities to prevent mass gatherings.

Security in Khartoum has been tight, despite the recent lifting of the state of emergency imposed after the coup.

Troops and police blocked roads leading to both the army headquarters and the presidential palace, witnesses said. Shops around the capital were largely closed.

Activists have called for demonstrations by ‘millions of people’.

‘Violence must stop’

UN Special Representative Volker Perthes said on Thursday that “the violence must stop”, while the US embassy in Khartoum urged restraint and “protect civilians so that no more lives are lost”.

Sudan’s foreign ministry has repeatedly criticized the UN envoy’s comments, saying they were based on “assumptions” and “discussed his role as mediator” in the difficult talks over ending the political crisis in Sudan.

The latest protests come on the anniversary of a previous coup in 1989 that overthrew the country’s last elected civilian government and ushered in three decades of rock-solid rule by Islamist-backed General Omar al-Bashir.

They also come on the anniversary of the 2019 protests demanding that the generals, who ousted Bashir in a palace coup earlier that year, cede power to civilians.

Those protests led to the formation of the transitional civil-military mixed government that was overthrown in last year’s coup.

Sudan has been plagued by almost weekly protests as the country’s economic problems have worsened since Burhan took power last year.

“June 30 is our way of taking down the coup and blocking the path of fake alternatives,” said the Forces for Freedom and Change, an alliance of civilian groups whose leaders were deposed during the coup.

The United Nations, along with the African Union and the East African bloc IGAD, have attempted to establish talks between the generals and civilians, but have been boycotted by all major civilian factions.

The UN has warned that the deepening economic and political crisis has driven a third of the population of more than 40 million people into life-threatening food shortages.

(AFP)

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