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Sudan coup – 15 protesters killed in anti-army protests in Khartoum

Fifteen protesters were killed in clashes with Sudanese security forces in demonstrations against the military coup on Wednesday, according to Sudan’s Central Doctors Committee.

The independent commission stated, in a statement, that the deaths occurred as a result of exposure to live bullets.

On Wednesday, thousands of Sudanese demonstrated against the army’s seizure of power and demanded the return of the civilian government and the release of political detainees.

And internal communications resumed after being cut off for hours, ahead of the scheduled date for the demonstrations.

The police had denied the use of firearms in the face of the demonstrations last Saturday, and said that about 40 of its forces were injured during the clashes.

The committee, a trade union organization that supports civilian rule in Sudan, stated that one of the dead was shot in the head, while another was shot in the neck, while “dozens of gunshot wounds” were reported, some of them serious.

Security forces in Khartoum confronted protesters, who went out in a mass demonstration on Wednesday to protest against the military coup, with tear gas canisters. All parts of the country took to the streets to commemorate the day a civilian was supposed to take over the leadership of the ruling Sovereign Council, which was dissolved by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on October 25, before announcing the formation of a new council about a week ago. Maryam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi said, The Sudanese Foreign Minister in the government of Abdullah Hamdok, which was resolved by Al-Burhan, said that the soldiers are beating people in the streets of Khartoum and kidnapping young people from the roads.

She added that the country must reject any legitimacy of the coup, or else it risks returning to the previous regime, which she said was characterized by deception, mistrust and lack of rule of law.

Last week, army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who led the same coup, was appointed head of the new Sovereignty Council. Thousands of Sudanese protested Wednesday against the coup that took place last month in Khartoum and other cities, medics said.

What do eyewitnesses say?

Witnesses said that the protesters marched in separate neighborhoods in Khartoum and its two cities, Khartoum Bahri and Omdurman, while security forces fired live bullets and tear gas after cutting off mobile phone communications earlier in the day.

They added that “the putschists used live bullets extensively in different areas of the capital,” speaking of “dozens of gunshot wounds.”

The demonstrators, organized by local “resistance committees”, are calling for a full handover to civil authorities and for the leaders of the October 25 coup to be tried in court.

On one of the main roads in Khartoum, protesters burned tires and chanted: “The people are stronger, and retreat is impossible.”

Others uploaded pictures of people who had been killed in the past. In addition to pictures of Abdullah Hamdok, the civilian prime minister who is still under house arrest, some of them carried a slogan saying:

“Legitimacy comes from the street, not from the guns.”

Pictures of protests in towns and cities, including Port Sudan, Kassala, Dongola, Madani and El Geneina, were published on social media.

“The security forces at the main meeting points were fully occupied,” said one of the protesters in Bahri.

The protester, who asked not to be identified, added that the air was filled with tear gas, and that security forces used rubber bullets and live bullets.

A member of the “resistance committee” said that the demonstrators aimed to exhaust the security forces by meeting in separate places, building barriers and regrouping after their dispersal.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which helped bolster the protests, said that “the coup forces are practicing excessive repression and are besieging the revolutionaries’ rallies in several areas.”

In anticipation of protests

This comes with a continuous suspension of Internet service since the twenty-fifth of last October, despite a court ruling obligating telecommunications companies to restore service.

Since the internet was cut off, calls to demonstrate have relied on knocking on doors, phone calls, and distributing leaflets.

Security forces were deployed in the city extensively in anticipation of the demonstrations.

Protest groups known as the “resistance committees” and the Forces for Freedom and Change called for protests on 17 November to demand the return of civilian government and the release of former officials arrested after the October 25 military coup.

“The Sudanese authorities announced the closure of four bridges in Khartoum, starting from midnight on Tuesday/Wednesday, hours before the start of the demonstrations calling for the return of civilian rule,” local websites reported, quoting state television.

The website added that “the official Sudan TV quoted the government’s Traffic Department as announcing the closure of four of the 10 bridges linking the cities of Khartoum, Bahri and Omdurman.”

Arrests

The Sudanese Congress Party said that military forces arrested one of its leaders at dawn and took him to an unknown location.

The party said in a statement that a security force stormed the house of Nour El-Din Salah El-Din, who is also a leader in the Forces of Freedom and Change, at about one o’clock this morning.

The statement condemned the arrest of Salah El-Din, blaming the army leaders who seized power for his safety and the safety of all political detainees, according to the statement.

The statement called on demonstrators to participate in the protests today to restore civilian rule.

The coup leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, appointed a new sovereign council on November 11, but the move was rejected by the ousted civilian government and the international community.

The new Sovereignty Council is expected to appoint a prime minister, who will then form a civilian government.

US Assistant Secretary of State Molly V, who visited Khartoum yesterday, said that she had met with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

But no more details were published about this meeting and what took place in it.

And local media quoted a member of the Sovereign Council in Sudan that Hamdok and other detainees will be released within a day or two, but the BBC was not able to confirm this.

Hamdok has been under house arrest since the army seized power on October 25.

Molly in also met with the commander of the army, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, and it was said that Al-Burhan told her that the steps for releasing political detainees who were arrested during the army’s seizure of power had begun, according to the official Sudanese News Agency (SUNA).

But the release will not include those facing criminal charges.

The US embassy said Molly also met with Maryam al-Mahdi, the secretary of state in the administration that Burhan dissolved, “to demonstrate US support for the civilian-led transition.”

A number of professional groups, including doctors and journalists, have staged protests in recent days.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters went out in demonstrations across Sudan on Saturday, facing tear gas and shooting from security forces.