Sudan forces fire tear gas to disperse anti-coup protesters in capital Khartoum

Sudan forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the capital Khartoum on Saturday as tens of thousands of Sudanese protesters marched across the country to denounce the October military coup.

It is the 10th day of major demonstrations with protests continuing even after Abdallah Hamdok was reinstated as prime minister on November 21.

The demonstrators demanded that the military have no role in government during a transition to free elections.

Protesters took to the streets even as authorities tightened security across the capital, deploying troops and closing all bridges over the Nile River linking Khartoum with its twin city of Omdurman and the district of Bahri, the state-run SUNA news agency reported.

Protesters demanded that soldiers “go back to the barracks” and called for a transition to civilian rule, as others waved flags, beat drums, danced and chanted.

The Doctors’ Committee, part of the pro-democracy movement, reported that security forces fired tear gas into hospitals, attacking doctors as well as the wounded.

In Khartoum, the marches started in different locations, from where the protesters would converge on the presidential palace. Rallies got underway also in other cities, including Wad Madani and Atbara.

Authorities warned protesters against approaching “sovereign and strategic” sites in central Khartoum — a reference to the main government buildings and key institutions.

Ahead of the demonstrations on Saturday, activists reported disruption of internet access on phones in Khartoum.

The city’s Security Committee said Sudanese forces would “deal with chaos and violations”, SUNA reported.

“Departing from peacefulness, approaching and infringing on sovereign and strategic sites in central Khartoum is a violation of the laws,” SUNA reported, citing a provincial security coordination committee.

Last weekend, security forces violently dispersed demonstrators when they attempted to stage a sit-in near the presidential palace.

At least three protesters were killed and more than 300 were wounded on Sunday.

The military and civilian political parties, known as the Forces of Freedom and Change Coalition (FFC), had shared power since Omar al-Bashir’s removal in April 2019.

The October military takeover however upended the fragile transition to democratic rule and led to relentless street demonstrations across Sudan. At least 47 people were killed and hundreds wounded in protests triggered by the coup.