Sudan: Another protester is killed, scepticism on military stepping aside grows

By 'Tofe Ayeni
Posted on Thursday, 1 September 2022 15:40

Sudanese demonstrators take to the streets to protest last year's military coup which deepened the country's political and economic turmoil, in Khartoum, Sudan, Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

Another Sudanese protester was killed on Wednesday in the latest round of anti-military demonstrations in Khartoum. According to medics, this marked the 117th victim since protests erupted after the 25 October 2021 military coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

In this latest protest, over 4000 civilians blocked Khartoum’s main road with rocks and burning tires while marching towards the country’s main airport, the new destination of choice. For months, protesters headed toward the presidential palace. The police fired tear gas about 1.5km away from the airport, chasing demonstrators into side streets.

According to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD), an unidentified protester was killed after suffering “a head injury by a tear gas canister … and then was run over” by a vehicle belonging to security forces.

‘Blue Nile is Bleeding’

Protesters carry signs with phrases such as ‘Stop Civil War’, ‘Blue Nile is Bleeding’, and ‘Cancel the Juba Peace Agreement’. In August, al-Burhan’s deputy and paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo admitted that the coup had failed to bring change to the country.

We will not compromise until the goals of our revolution are realised. We are here in the street demanding freedom, peace, justice, a civil state and the return of the military to the barracks.

Army leaders and civilian political parties have been engaged in discussions about power in the country, but nothing has come of them. The committees that have organised the protests insist that the military should not share in the ruling of the country, wanting to go back to a transition to democracy.

In July, a 25-year-old demonstrator called Soha told AFP: “We will not compromise until the goals of our revolution are realised. We are here in the street demanding freedom, peace, justice, a civil state and the return of the military to the barracks.”

The military leaders have said they will step aside if civilian political groups agree on a new government, but there is widespread scepticism about whether they will uphold that promise.

Unidentified bodies

Not all victims following the security forces’ crackdown on the protests have been identified. In a press statement on 30 August, the CCSD said: “We saw in the media that the Attorney General of the Republic of Sudan directed the burial of unidentified bodies piled up in mortuaries, which constitutes a dangerous deviation from the protocols and laws relevant to the matter.”

Demonstrations have been ongoing for 10 months, begining with the October 2021 coup, which halted the transition to democracy that started after the 2019 ousting of Omar al-Bashir who was in power from 1989.

Since the coup, Sudan has gone through both political and economic turmoil, with consumer prices spiralling leading to widespread food shortages. The military is accused of worsening internal conflict and failing to protect its citizens. The military, on its part, claims the coup was necessary to preserve Sudan’s stability, and says they are working to build peace across the nation.

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