Sudan police fire tear gas as thousands demand civilian rule

NNA – Police fired tear gas at protesters in Khartoum on Sunday as thousands gathered for a mass demonstration against Sudan’s ruling generals, amid international calls for restraint to avoid a new deadly crackdown.

The planned “million-man” march is being seen as a test for protest organisers whose movement has been hit by a June 3 raid on a Khartoum sit-in and a subsequent internet blackout that has curbed their ability to mobilise support.

Dozens of demonstrators were killed and hundreds wounded when armed men in military fatigues stormed the sit-in outside army headquarters, shooting and beating protesters who had camped there since April 6.

On Sunday, police fired tear gas in the northern Khartoum district of Bari and in Mamura and Arkweit, in the capital’s east, as protesters chanted “Civilian rule! Civilian rule!”, witnesses said.

Security forces also fired tear gas at demonstrators in the eastern town of Gadaref, a witness said.

The latest demonstrations come at a time when Ethiopia and the African Union (AU) are jointly mediating between the protesters and generals.

The European Union, several Western nations and rights groups have called on the generals to avoid any violence.

Hundreds of men and women, flashing victory signs and carrying Sudanese flags, flooded the streets of Al-Sahafa neighbourhood of Khartoum, an AFP correspondent reported.

“We are here for the martyrs of the (June 3) sit-in. We want a civilian state that guarantees our freedom. We want to get rid of military dictatorship,” said Zeinab, 23.

Others took to the streets of Jabra neighbourhood, with many chanting revolutionary slogans, witnesses said, while rallies were under way in other districts.

Protests were also launched in the cities of Al Obied, Madani and Khasma el-Girba, witnesses said. — AFP

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