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Thousands of Sudanese demonstrate in Khartoum against killing of anti-coup protesters

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Sudanese demonstrators barricade al-Sahafa street with rocks and burning tires during ongoing protests against a military coup in the capital Khartoum on January 18, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

Thousands of Sudanese have rallied in the capital to protest against the killings of dozens in a crackdown since the military coup on October 25 last year.

Media reports said protesters converged from several parts of the capital onto a main artery in east Khartoum on Thursday.

Angry demonstrators held anti-junta banners and chanted slogans such as "The military should go back to the barracks."

Others gathered outside the United Nations headquarters in Khartoum with banners reading "No to external solutions". They also called on the UN special representative to Sudan, Volker Perthes, "to leave".

In the capital's twin city of Omdurman, Sudanese security forces fired tear gas at the protesters.

The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) had called Thursday's protests in Khartoum to be held "in tribute to the martyrs", and nationwide on Friday.

At least seven protesters were killed on Monday alone in one of the bloodiest days of anti-coup rallies. The deaths triggered strikes, civil disobedience and the erection of new street barricades this week.

At least 72 people have been killed and more than 2,000 injured in the crackdown on protests against the October 25 coup in Sudan, according to a count by a pro-democracy group of medics.

Judges, prosecutors censure protest crackdowns

In rare public statements released on Thursday, dozens of Sudanese judges and prosecutors denounced the killing of more than 70 protesters since a military takeover in October and called for investigations

A statement from 55 judges to the head of the judiciary said military leaders had "violated agreements and covenants since the October 25 coup, as they have carried out the most heinous violations against defenseless protesters".

They called for an end to the violence and a criminal investigation.

A further group of 48 other prosecutors called for an investigation of alleged violations against protesters.

Over 100 prosecutors also announced they would stop work from Thursday in support of their call for security forces to cease violations and lift a state of emergency. They voiced their opposition to a recent emergency order that offered immunity and wider powers to security forces.

More than two years ago, massive anti-government demonstrations hit Sudan, mostly over the economy. The protesters, youths for the large part, demanded the resignation of then-President Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir was ultimately deposed through a military coup in April 2019, after ruling over the country for three decades. In August the same year, a transitional civilian-military administration was founded to run the country.

However, Sudan's military chief and de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan staged a coup in October last year and dissolved the fragile government.

Abdalla Hamdok, the then-prime minister, was detained and put under house arrest in a move that infuriated the Sudanese and sparked international outcry, including from the UN Security Council. Other civilian leaders were also held in military detention.

Hamdok was later released and signed a power-sharing deal with the Burhan-led junta, according to which the former would continue his career as prime minister, all political prisoners detained during the coup would be released, and a 2019 constitutional declaration would be the basis for a political transition. July 2023 was set as the date for Sudan's first free elections since 1986.

On January 2, Hamdok resigned, leaving the military fully in charge. He said Sudan was at a "dangerous crossroads threatening its very survival."

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