Sudanese call for anti-coup protests as death toll rises to 40

Sunday November 21 2021
Sudan protests

A man chants slogans while holding a sign reading in Arabic "our dreams were made to be realised" as people protesting against the military coup in Sudan march during a demonstration in "Street 60" in the east of capital Khartoum on November 13, 2021. PHOTO | AFP



 Sudanese anti-coup activists called for mass protests on Sunday, as hundreds held fresh demonstrations denouncing the deadly crackdown which left 40 people killed since last month's military takeover.

The United States and African Union have condemned the deadly crackdown on protesters and called on Sudan's leaders to refrain from the "excessive use of force".

Sudan's top general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on October 25 declared a state of emergency, ousted the government and detained the civilian leadership.

The military takeover upended a two-year transition to civilian rule, drew international condemnation and punitive measures, and provoked people to take to the streets.

Protests on Wednesday were the deadliest so far, with a toll of 16 killed after a teenager who had been shot died, medics said.


The independent Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said the 16-year-old had been shot "by live rounds to the head and the leg".

Most of those killed on Wednesday were in North Khartoum, which lies across the Nile River from the capital, medics said.

On Saturday, hundreds of protesters rallied against the military in North Khartoum, putting up barricades and setting tyres on fire, an AFP correspondent said.

They chanted "no, no to military rule" and called for "civilian rule".

During the unrest, a police station was set on fire, the correspondent said, adding that there were no police agents in the vicinity. Security forces and protesters traded blame for the incident.

Police spokesman Idris Soliman accused an unidentified "group of people" of torching the station.

But North Khartoum's resistance committee claimed the police was responsible.


"Police forces withdrew from the station... and after members of the police carried out acts of sabotage," it said in a statement.

"We accuse clearly and explicitly the military establishment for causing this chaos," added the committee, part of informal groups which emerged during 2018-2019 protests that ousted president Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

On Saturday, pro-democracy activists made online calls for mass anti-coup protests with a "million-strong march on November 21".

Dozens of protesters also rallied Saturday to mourn the latest deaths in North Khartoum, demanding "retribution" and a transition to civilian rule.

Protesters also took to the streets of Khartoum's twin-city Omdurman to denounce the latest killings, chanting "down with the (ruling) council of treachery and betrayal".

Police officials deny using any live ammunition and insist they have used "minimum force" to disperse the protests. They have recorded only one death, among demonstrators in North Khartoum.

On Friday, police forces sporadically fired tear gas until late at night to disperse demonstrators who had rallied in North Khartoum, witnesses said.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella of unions which were instrumental in the months-long demonstrations that led to Bashir's ouster, said security forces has also "stormed homes and mosques".

An AFP correspondent said police forces also frisked passers-by and carried out identification checks.

The US and African Union denounced the deadly crackdown.

"We call for those responsible for human rights abuses and violations, including the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters, to be held accountable," US State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

"In advance of upcoming protests, we call on Sudanese authorities to use restraint and allow peaceful demonstrations," he added.

The African Union, which suspended Sudan after the coup, also condemned "in the strongest terms" Wednesday's violence.

AU Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat called on Sudan's authorities "to restore constitutional order and the democratic transition" in line with a 2019 power-sharing deal between the military and the now-deposed civilian figures.

Reporters detained

The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for the release of reporters detained while covering anti-coup protests including Ali Farsab who it said was beaten, shot, and detained by security forces on Wednesday.

"Sudanese security forces' shooting and beating of journalist Ali Farsab make a mockery of the coup government's alleged commitment to a democratic transitional phase in the country," Sherif Mansour, CPJ's MENA program coordinator.

Sudan has a long history of military coups, enjoying only rare interludes of democratic rule since independence in 1956.

Burhan, the top general, insists the military's move "was not a coup" but a step "to rectify the transition" as factional infighting and splits deepened between civilians and the military under the now-deposed government.

He has since announced a new ruling council in which he kept his position as head, along with a powerful paramilitary commander, three senior military figures, three ex-rebel leaders and one civilian.

But the other four civilian members were replaced with lesser known figures.