Two dead as security forces open fire on protesters in Sudan

People attend a protest against military rule following last month’s coup in Khartoum, Sudan.

Two demonstrators were killed on Monday when Sudanese security forces fired live rounds and teargas during protests against military rule that attracted tens of thousands of people across the country, medics said.

Such protests, along with barricades throughout the capital and a general strike last week, have continued since the military took power on October 25, ending a partnership with civilian political parties since the removal of Omar al-Bashir as Sudan’s ruler in 2019.

Some 74 civilians have been killed and more than 2,000 injured in crackdowns on the protests, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, which is aligned with the protest movement, mainly by gunshots and teargas canisters.

“Our people are protesting peacefully and using all forms of nonviolent resistance towards a free, democratic and just country, only to be confronted by the military with the worst crimes,” the doctors’ group said.

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Of the two protesters killed on Monday, one was shot in the chest and the other in the head, the group said. Other protesters were injured in the capital Khartoum and the city of Omdurman, they said.

Police could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sudan’s military leaders have said the right to peaceful protest is protected. The Sovereign Council, Sudan’s highest authority, run by the military, received a briefing on the work of a committee investigating protester deaths, it said in a statement.

The violence has deepened the deadlock between pro-democracy groups and the military leadership.

A witness saw security forces using teargas and stun grenades as protesters stood 1.2 km (0.75 miles) from the presidential palace.

In the cities of Bahri and Omdurman, witnesses saw a heavy security presence and teargas fired on a main road.

The protests were called by neighbourhood resistance committees, which advocate a stance of “no legitimacy, no negotiation, no partnership” towards the military.

One committee reported the arrest of at least four members. Another said its headquarters were raided.

There were also large protests in the city of Madani, where witnesses said protesters marched towards the house of a protester killed on Friday before heading to the state government building.

Social media users shared images of other protests in the cities of El Fasher, Shendi, and Elobeid.

Last week, the United States condemned the use of force against protesters, saying it would consider additional measures to hold perpetrators of violence accountable.

Military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has appointed deputy ministers to a caretaker government which passed this year’s budget.

On Monday, Abdelghani Alnaeem, former deputy foreign minister under Bashir, confirmed he and more than 100 other diplomats and administrators fired as part of an anti-corruption task force has been re-instated by a judge. “This is a positive step,” he said.

The Sovereign Council on Monday formed a committee to look into appeals of decisions by the taskforce, which was a key point of tension between the military and civilian politicians.

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