KARO — Sudanese security forces shot and killed four people during anti-coup protests on Thursday, a medical group said as thousands marched to denounce the country’s military rulers and demand an immediate transfer of power to civilians.
The Sudan Doctors Commission said in a tweet that the four were fatally shot when police fired live ammunition at protesters in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. The commission, which follows the victims during protests, said the identities of the dead were not immediately known.
Across the Nile River in Khartoum, police fired tear gas at thousands of protesters trying to reach the Republican Palace, the military’s seat of power in the heart of the city. Videos were posted on social media showing thousands waving Sudanese flags and running under clouds of tear gas.
Other videos show protesters raising banners that read ‘No negotiations! No Partnership” – reiterating their opposition to any power-sharing deal with the military rulers.
Sudan’s leading pro-democracy groups — Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change and the Resistance Committees — had called for nationwide protests on Thursday to reiterate their demands for an overturn of the October 25 military coup. The takeover rocked the East African country’s short-lived transition to democracy following the ouster of longtime autocratic ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
Thursday’s protests also fell on the third anniversary of a 2019 mass rally that forced the generals to sit down at the negotiating table with pro-democracy groups and eventually sign a power-sharing agreement expected to rule Sudan for a period of time. a transitional period until general elections were to be held. However, last October’s coup put an end to this arrangement.
Meanwhile, London-based internet advocacy group, NetBlocks, said internet access was disrupted Thursday at many mobile and fixed internet providers in Sudan, including state operator Sudantel, leaving national connectivity at just 17% of normal levels.
“The restrictions affect many internet users in Sudan and are likely to significantly limit coverage of events on the ground,” the statement said.
The October coup has sparked almost daily street protests, with authorities undergoing a deadly crackdown that has killed 107 people so far, including Thursday’s victims. The dead included 17 children, according to the Doctors Commission.
Hundreds of people, including prominent politicians and activists, have been arrested, although many have recently been released as part of confidence-building measures. Internet shutdown and blocking is routinely recorded ahead of most anti-coup protests.
“NetBlocks advises against using network disruptions and social media restrictions to counter protests, given their disproportionate impact on fundamental rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly,” the London-based group said.
Since the coup, the UN political mission in Sudan, the African Union and the group of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, comprising eight countries in East Africa, have tried to find a way out of the current political deadlock. Earlier this month, the leading pro-democracy group finally agreed to sit with the generals in a meeting brokered by the United States and Saudi Arabia.
However, no breakthrough came from these talks.