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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Evictions during Protests Leaves Several Dead in Sudan

KHARTOUM – Demonstrators who demand the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir gathered at the gates of the Sudanese Army headquarters in Khartoum for a sit-in were evicted on Wednesday, although they continue to congregate nearby, while the number of deaths in the camp which began April 6 increases and varies according to sources.

Hundreds of members of Sudanese police and security forces stormed the rally aboard vehicles and launched a large amount of tear gas to dislodge the crowd, some demonstrators told EFE, but that did not stop them continuing their protest.

“The Sudanese authorities must stop firing at protesters peacefully exercising their freedom of expression. The killing of people who are simply taking a stand for what they believe in is completely unacceptable,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

The demonstrators are currently concentrated next to the northern wall of the complex where the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense and the Army command are located, on the road that leads to the Burri neighborhood, and they are willing to remain in the street tonight, despite the attacks on them that are repeated every morning.

On Tuesday, at least seven people, including two army officers and a doctor, were killed in a gunfight at the protest, according to the opposition union Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, which said the two soldiers were “protecting” the demonstrators.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, a group of opposition unions that has led the protest movement, warned on social networks that “the regime and its militias” are waiting for nightfall because “they are cowards to face the people” in the light of day.

He stressed that the attacks against the demonstrators take place at night and at dawn, so he called on all citizens of the capital to come to the sit-in to “protect the revolutionaries and the revolution.”

For his part, the main Sudanese opposition leader, Sadiq al Mahdi, has denounced the death of about twenty people and the injury of dozens by attacks of armed masked individuals against the camp every morning since its establishment on April 6.

Amnesty International (AI) has counted nine deaths in the past three days due to the “excessive force to try and disperse protesters” camped next to the military compound.

The human rights organization has documented the death of two men on Tuesday, one of them returning home after participating in the sit-in and the other in a confrontation between police and intelligence, and army officers in the camp.

“All government security and armed forces must immediately stop this reckless and lethal use of violence in the midst of peaceful protests at military headquarters.” AI said in a statement, in which it described the violence as “unacceptable.”

Local authorities have cut off the water service to the sit-in area and vehicles carrying supplies to demonstrators are searched and seized by the National Intelligence and Security Service, according to AI.

The Sudanese Army spokesman, Major General Ahmed Khalifa al-Shami, assured on Tuesday in statements to the press that the camp of the demonstrators in front of the Army command has been evicted, which was carried out in collaboration with the security forces with professionalism and as little damage as possible.

The spokesman added that the Armed Forces will act with determination against those who try to block the roads and terrorize citizens and loot their property, in a veiled warning of new mobilizations in the area.

In the evening, when temperatures drop in Khartoum, the number of people attending the rallies swell, seeking to pressure the Army to take a stand against the president of the country, whose resignation is demanded by opposition parties and unions.

Protests began in Sudan on Dec. 19 last year because of famine and inflation, but soon turned against Al Bashir and have gained strength since April 6, after the resignation of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who lost the support of the Armed Forces.

 

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