Huge crowds marched on Sudan’s
defense ministry on Sunday demanding the ruling military hand over power to
civilians, and the authorities said at least seven people were killed and
scores injured in protests nationwide.
In the biggest demonstrations since
a deadly raid by security forces on a protest camp in central Khartoum three
weeks ago, tens of thousands of residents took to the streets in several parts
of the Sudanese capital.
In two areas near the presidential
palace and in the upscale eastern neighborhood of Riyadh, they were met by
security forces firing barrages of tear gas, witnesses said.
The deputy head of Sudan’s ruling
military council, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as Hemedti, said unknown
snipers were shooting at civilians and soldiers.
Seven people were killed and 181
wounded, 27 of them by live fire, in protests nationwide, the state news agency
reported, citing a Health Ministry undersecretary.
The official said 10 of those
injured were members of regular forces, including three conscripts of the Rapid
Support Forces (RSF), led by Hemedti, who were injured by gunfire. The
remaining seven were injured by stones hurled by demonstrators, he added.
A doctor’s group linked to the
opposition said at least five protesters were killed and dozens injured during
demonstrations in several cities. Reuters could not verify those accounts.
Sudan’s military overthrew president
Omar al-Bashir in April after months of demonstrations against his rule.
Opposition groups kept up those
demonstrations as they pressed the military to hand over power to civilians.
But talks broke down after members of the security services raided the sit-in
protest camp outside the defense ministry on June 3.
The Forces for Freedom and Change
(FFC) opposition coalition called for a million people to demonstrate on Sunday
– the 30th anniversary of the coup that brought Bashir to power, and the
African Union’s deadline for Sudan’s military rulers to hand over to civilians
or face further sanctions.
WILL NOT RETREAT”
In another part of Khartoum,
thousands blocked the main multi-lane highway that leads to the airport as they
marched toward the home of a protester who was killed in January.
Protesters waved the Sudanese flag
and chanted “civilian, civilian” and “blood for blood,” as Sudan beefed up
security across the capital.
“We came out once again for the
revolution and we will not retreat until they handover power to a civilian authority,”
protester Hassan Ahmed told Reuters.
The Transitional Military Council
had warned a day earlier that the opposition coalition would bear the
responsibility for any loss of life or damage resulting from Sunday’s protests.
Members of one of the main
opposition groups – the Sudanese Professionals’ Association – said the security
services raided its headquarters on Saturday night as it was about to give a
The United Nations has said it has
received reports that more than 100 protesters were killed and many more
injured during the June 3 raid on the protest camp.
Military leaders have denied
ordering a raid on the camp and said a crackdown on criminals nearby had
The council has said some officers
had been detained for presumed responsibility, and that it still intends to
hand over power after elections.
Mediators led by the African Union
and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have been trying to broker a return to