Sudan’s security forces fire tear gas at demos against post-coup deal

Khartoum; Witnesses said Sudanese security forces fired tear gas on Tuesday at protesters rallying against last month’s military takeover and the prime minister was reinstated in a coup that ousted him.

He said thousands of protesters gathered in central Khartoum and marched towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan when security forces fired tear gas to disperse them. Security forces were deployed around the palace to prevent the protesters from coming.

“No partnership, no dialogue, no legitimacy,” shouted slogans urging the military to “go back to their barracks”. “I have come here to demand the fall of the military regime,” protester Mohamed Aladdin told AFP. Sudan’s top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, seized power on October 25 and detained Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, but after international condemnation and widespread protests, he signed a deal last week that allowed the premier to restored.

Critics lambasted the agreement as “whitewash” and accused Hamdok of “betrayal” as pro-democracy activists vowed to keep pressure on the military-civilian authority. At least 43 people have been killed in anti-coup protests since last month, according to doctors.

Doctors have accused the security forces of using live rounds, but the police denied the allegations, saying it used only “minimal force” to disperse the protest. The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella of unions that called for Tuesday’s protests, accused Hamdok and Burhan of seeking to “resume the former regime” of President Omar al-Bashir, which was launched in April 2019. The scale was removed after protests.

Taking to the streets is a “clear and decisive response to the bullshit of the fundamentalists,” the SPA said, which was also instrumental in the anti-Bashir protests. Hamdok, who was prime minister in a transitional government since ousting long-time autocratic Bashir, has defended the November 21 agreement.

He has told local media that he had partnered with the military to “stop the bloodshed” and “not to lose the gains of the past two years”. The Burhan-Hamdok agreement was welcomed by the United Nations, the African Union, Western countries as well as Arab powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which have strong ties with the Sudanese military.

The military has vowed to release detainees held in custody since the coup, and several politicians have been released. Burhan has also promised to lead Sudan to “free and transparent elections” in July 2023. He has insisted that the military’s move was “not a coup”, but a move “to rectify the transition”.

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