Thousands take to the streets of Sudan to protest against military rule

Thousands of Sudanese demonstrators gathered Sunday in the capital to demand an end to military rule and tribal clashes that have left more than 100 people dead, AFP correspondents reported.

“Down with the proof,” they chanted, referring to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the army chief who last year led a military coup that reversed the transition to civilian rule after the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

Since then, almost weekly protests have taken place, despite a bloody crackdown that has killed at least 116 people, according to pro-democracy medics.

“People’s power,” the demonstrators chanted, calling on the soldiers to return to their barracks.

Since last year’s coup, Sudan – already one of the world’s poorest countries – has been suffering from a mounting economic crisis and a widespread security breakdown that has led to an escalation of ethnic clashes in remote areas.

On 11 July, tribal clashes over a land dispute erupted in the southern Blue Nile state, leaving at least 105 dead and 291 injured, and sparking protests for justice and calls for coexistence.

Protester Mohamed Ali told AFP on Sunday that he was demonstrating for “one united nation”.

Ali said the military council “turned a blind eye” to the tribal violence, “because these problems allow it to stay in power.”

Pro-democracy activists have long accused the Sudanese military and former rebel leaders who signed the 2020 peace deal of exacerbating ethnic tensions for political gain.

The pro-democracy movement’s strength has ebbed and flowed since the coup, which was recently rocked by a surprise announcement on July 4, when al-Burhan vowed in a televised speech to step down and make way for Sudanese factions to agree on a civilian government.

Key civilian leaders dismissed his move as a “hoax”, and pro-democracy protesters held out a rallying cry that there could be “no negotiation, no partnership” with the military.

Other civilian factions were more willing to negotiate, viewing them as a necessary stepping stone for democratic rule.

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