• October 30, 2021
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Khartoum on fire as thousands of Sudanese scale up nationwide protests

Khartoum on fire as thousands of Sudanese scale up nationwide protests
Thousands of anti-coup protesters in Sudan took to the streets to demand the restoration of a civilian-led government in “Million of October 30” demonstrations.

The protesters have called for a return to a path to democracy, as they rejected military measures and demanded the release of detainees.

According to Sudan TV, Sudanese security forces closed the majority of main roads and bridges in Khartoum, with the exception of the Halfaya and Soba bridges.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese this week have already protested against General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan’s removal of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s cabinet on Monday, in a military takeover that triggered a deadly crackdown against protesters and led Western states to freeze hundreds of millions in aid.

With at least 11 people killed by security forces and several pro-democracy activists detained, opponents of the military government fear a full-blown crackdown and more bloodshed.

Still, the protesters remained defiant, with organizers hoping to stage a “million-strong” march against the military’s power grab.

According to the latest reports, authorities imposed restrictions on the Internet and phone lines, prompting protesters to mobilise to protest using leaflets, text messages, graffiti, and neighborhood rallies.

“We will not be ruled by the military. That is the message we will convey” at the protests, said rights activist Tahani Abbas. “The military forces are bloody and unjust and we are anticipating what is about to happen on the streets,” Abbas added. “But we are no longer afraid.”

An activist who gave his name as Mohamed said “the army should go back to its barracks and give the leadership to Hamdok”.

“Our demand is a civilian country, a democratic country, nothing less than that,” added Mohamed, who also plans to protest.

The United States, which denounced the coup and called for the restoration of the civilian-led government, said how the army reacts on Saturday will be a test of its intentions.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sudan’s security forces must respect human rights and any violence against peaceful demonstrators is “unacceptable”.

The US continues to stand with “Sudan’s people in their nonviolent struggle for democracy,” he said in a Twitter post.

With internet and phone lines restricted by the authorities, opponents of the coup have sought to mobilize for the protest using fliers, SMS messages, graffiti and neighborhood rallies.

Neighborhood-based resistance committees, active since the mass uprising against deposed President Omar al-Bashir that began in December 2018, have been central to organizing despite the arrests of key politicians.

Al-Bashir, who ran Sudan for nearly three decades, was deposed by the army in April 2019 following months of protests against his rule.

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