Security forces have reportedly used live ammunition on pro-democracy protesters, killing four. Another person died after suffocating from tear gas.
Sudanese security forces reportedly used live ammunition and tear gas on protesters on Saturday, killing five people and injuring a number of others.
“One protester was killed in Omdurman by the bullets of the putschist military council,” the Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors said in a statement.
Two others died in different hospitals, one had also been shot and the other victim is understood to have suffocated as a result of teargas. Two more deaths were reported later on Saturday.
What do we know so far?
Pro-democracy protesters were on the streets of capital Khartoum and nearby Omdurman on Saturday. They were voicing opposition to the military’s formation of a new ruling council that sidelined the civilian coalition.
Witnesses and doctors’ reports conflicted with those of the authorities.
Reuters news agency reported that security forces chased protesters through Omdurman — situated on the western bank of the Nile, just opposite the capital.
Witnesses estimated the Khartoum demonstrations numbered into the tens of thousands, replicated across the country in other cities.
The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, that supports the protests, said the pro-democracy movement was “facing excessive repression using all forms of force including live bullets in several areas of the capital Khartoum.”
Sudanese police, in contrast, said they did not use live ammunition in the marches while the military said it does not kill peaceful protesters.
Authorities reported that 39 policemen were injured as protesters attacked police stations.
The military regime has cut mobile internet services despite a court order to restore them and phone signals have been disrupted, complicating demonstrations.
Why are the protests taking place?
On October 25, the Sudanese military seized power by dissolving the transitional government and arresting cabinet ministers.
The coup was led by the same man who deposed al-Bashir in 2019, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan.
On Thursday, military leader Burhan announced a new ruling council with no civilian coalition representation. The actions of the military have scuppered any move towards democratic governance.
In the build-up to Saturday’s march, bridges across the Nile were closed as protesters gathered.
Roads to the presidential palace and other key sites were blocked with lines of barbed wire.
Local resistance organizations have been reported to be using flyers to spread their message to circumvent the internet blackout. The communication restrictions have been in place since the military seized controlin October.
US calls for restraint
The US embassy in Sudan said it “deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries of dozens of Sudanese citizens demonstrating today for freedom and democracy.”
The US was among several countries that have expressed concern over the actions of the military leadership. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called on the military “to refrain from further unilateral actions.”
Volker Perthes, the UN’s envoy in Sudan urged “utmost restraint” from security forces ahead of the protests, while calling for protesters themselves to “maintain the principle of peaceful protest.”
At least 14 protesters have been killed and about 300 wounded since the coup, according to the independent Central Committee of Sudan’s Doctors.