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Sudanese protester killed in crackdown on anti-coup rallies

Thousands rally in capital Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman



People protest against last year's military coup, in Khartoum. — AP
People protest against last year's military coup, in Khartoum. — AP

By AFP

Published: Mon 14 Feb 2022, 8:15 PM

Sudanese security forces shot dead a protester on Monday as they cracked down on thousands marching against last year’s military coup and the arrest of several pro-democracy activists, medics said.

Regular mass protests have rocked the troubled northeast African nation since an October 25 military takeover led by army chief Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, and the death on Monday takes the number killed to at least 80.

The power grab derailed a fragile power-sharing agreement between the army and civilians negotiated after the 2019 ouster of Omar Al Bashir.

On Monday, thousands rallied in the capital Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman, AFP reporters said, while protests also took place in the eastern city of Port Sudan and in the western Darfur region, according to witnesses.

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In Khartoum, protests had begun with crowds waving national flags and carrying red balloons — as the rallies coincided with Valentine’s Day.

“Today is the nation’s love day,” one banner read.

Some shouted slogans demanding the authorities release activists who have been arrested, while others carried pictures of protesters killed.

“We are demanding the release of resistance committee members and politicians who were unjustly arrested, and some of whom are facing fabricated charges,” protester Khaled Mohamed said.

But as crowds tried to approach the presidential palace, security forces fired volleys of tear gas canisters.

One protester was killed after he was shot in “the neck and chest by live rounds by coup forces,” the independent Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said.

Tear gas was also fired at protesters in Omdurman and North Khartoum, witnesses said.

While Sudan has repeatedly denied opening fire on protesters, Human Rights Watch has quoted witnesses detailing how the security forces have used both “live ammunition” and fired tear gas canisters “directly” at crowds, a tactic that can be deadly at close-quarters.

The authorities have also arrested scores of activists accused of belonging to the “resistance committees” who have been instrumental in organising protests.

“The number of people detained arbitrarily and without criminal charges has exceeded 100,” the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) said Monday.

The SPA, which also calls for anti-coup protests, said the detainees are aged between 16 and 60.

In Khartoum’s Soba prison, detainees launched a hunger strike to protest against prison conditions, the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said.

“Some have been detained without facing charges, and others still await investigations,” the medics said in a statement.

On Sunday, authorities arrested Mohamed Al Fekki, a civilian former member of the ruling Sovereign Council, which led the country under the now stalled 2019 power-sharing agreement.

Last week, authorities arrested ex-minister Khaled Omar Youssef and Wagdi Saleh, the spokesman of Sudan’s main civilian bloc, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC).

Those arrests came just a day after they joined an FFC delegation for talks with UN special representative Volker Perthes, as part of efforts to resolve Sudan’s deepening crisis.

The October military power grab, the latest coup in Sudan since the independence, has sparked wide international condemnation and punitive measures — but authorities have shown little inclination to compromise.


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