Three dead as defiant Sudanese march against coup

Oct 31, 2021: Military forces shot dead three people during nationwide protests in Sudan on Saturday, medics said, as tens of thousands of people demanded the restoration of a civilian-led government after a military coup.

Sudan’s Central Doctors Committee said the three protesters were killed by troops in the capital Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman during the nationwide protests after a military coup.

But Sudanese police denied shooting the protesters, saying on state TV that one policeman sustained gunshot wounds.

People carried Sudanese flags and chanted “Military rule can’t be praised” and “This country is ours, and our government is civilian” as they marched in neighbourhoods across the capital.

The protesters have called for a return to a path to democracy and rejected military measures and demanded the release of detainees.

According to Sudan TV, Sudanese security forces closed the majority of main roads and bridges in Khartoum, with the exception of the Halfaya and Soba bridges.

People also took to the streets in cities in central, eastern, northern and western Sudan.

In central Khartoum on Saturday there was a heavy military deployment of armed troops that included the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese this week protested General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan’s removal of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s cabinet on Monday, in a military takeover that triggered a deadly crackdown against protesters and led Western states to freeze hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.

With at least 13 people killed by security forces and several pro-democracy activists detained, opponents of the military government fear a full-blown crackdown and more bloodshed.

Still, the protesters remained defiant, with organisers hoping to stage a “million-strong” march against the military’s power grab.

Hamdok, an economist, was initially held at al-Burhan’s residence when soldiers rounded up senior government officials on Monday, but was allowed to return home under guard on Tuesday.

A US State Department official said Hamdok was, however, still under house arrest and unable to resume his work.

The US official said tens of billions of dollars of debt relief sought by Sudan would not happen as long as the army was attempting to direct Sudan unilaterally.

The US and the World Bank have already frozen assistance to Sudan, where an economic crisis has seen shortages of basic goods including food and medicine and where nearly a third of the population requires urgent humanitarian support.

Several mediation efforts have emerged but there has been no sign of progress towards a compromise.

On Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the military to show restraint as he reaffirmed his “strong condemnation” of the coup.

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