Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt (AP) — Sudanese security forces fired ammunition and tear gas to disperse protesters in the capital of Khartoum, as thousands took to the streets on Thursday against a coup that brought the country to a standstill. put in, the workers said. According to officials and a medical group, a senior police officer and a protester were killed.
Demonstrations in Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan are the latest in relentless protests since the military toppled the civilian-led government of Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok on October 25.
The military takeover has sustained Sudan’s transition to democratic rule after three decades of repression and international isolation under autocratic President Omar al-Bashir.
The African nation has been on a delicate path to democracy since a popular uprising in April 2019 forced the military to oust al-Bashir and his Islamic government.
According to footage circulated online, protesters, mostly young people, marched in various places in Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman. Security was tight. Protests also took place in the troubled western region of Darfur.
The protesters demanded the removal of generals from power and the establishment of a completely civilian government to lead the transition.
According to a pro-democracy movement, security forces used tear gas to disperse people marching in the main Khartoum street leading to the fortified Rashtrapati Bhavan. Video online shows white smoke – apparently from tear gas – as protesters try to take cover and others throw stones at soldiers.
Read more: Sudanese security forces kill 3 during anti-coup protests
Police said a senior officer died while providing security to the protest near Rashtrapati Bhavan. The statement did not say how Colonel Ali Hamad was killed, but local media reported that he was stabbed to death by security forces as the protesters dispersed.
In Khartoum’s Bahri district, a protester was shot dead and dozens wounded when security forces intervened with ammunition to break up the march, according to the Sudan Doctors Committee.
More than 60 people have been killed, and hundreds more injured, in the nearly daily protests since the coup.
The Interior Ministry, which oversees police, later said a suspect had been arrested in Thursday’s knife attack, which also injured several policemen. Other suspects are being pursued, the ministry elaborated.
Police spokesman Idris Abdullah told state television that a group of protesters stabbed the colonel. He is the first declared death among security forces since the coup. Police had earlier reported injuries in the protests.
The United Nations has repeatedly urged the authorities to cease its crackdown on protesters and hold those responsible for the killings in previous rounds of protests. The UN mission in Sudan began separate consultations with Sudanese groups earlier this week to try to bridge the growing gap between the military and the pro-democracy movement. These consultations can lead to direct dialogue between the two sides to find a way out of the crisis.
Hamdok, who had been the civilian face of Sudan’s transitional government over the past two years, resigned earlier this month, citing a failure to reach a compromise between the generals and the pro-democracy movement. He was reinstated in November in a deal with the military that angered the pro-democracy movement.
The movement insists that a fully civilian government lead to the transition, a demand rejected by generals who say that power be delegated only to an elected government.
The election is planned for July 2023, in line with the 2019 constitutional document governing the transition period.
The coup took place a few weeks before the military handed over the leadership of the ruling sovereign council to civilians, according to the constitutional document.