Tens of thousands of people gather in Sudan to protest, 58 officers in

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Sudanese authorities said on Sunday that 58 police officers were injured during the previous day’s protests against the military regime, state television reported.

The Khartoum security committee statement added that 114 people had been arrested and prosecuted during protests where tens of thousands gathered, demanding that the soldiers “return to the barracks” and calling for a transition to civilian rule.

Waving flags, beating drums, dancing and singing, crowds marched through the streets of Khartoum despite cut communications and a heavy presence of security forces who then fired tear gas to disperse them.

A journalist from Agence France-Presse (AFP) saw the wounded evacuated by demonstrators.

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

Officers had previously barricaded bridges connecting the capital to suburbs, cut phone lines and restricted internet access ahead of planned protests.

At least 48 people have died in the crackdown in the weeks of protests, according to the Medical Committee, and the governor of Khartoum state has warned that the security forces “will deal with those who break the law and create chaos “.

Protesters converged on the presidential palace in Khartoum, the seat of the military government in power since General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan took power on October 25.

International pressure

Burhan has held the civilian leader, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, under house arrest for weeks.

After international pressure, including an interruption in life-saving aid, Burhan reinstated him on November 21 as part of a deal promising elections for July 2023.

The move alienated many pro-democracy Hamdok supporters, who dismissed it as offering a cover of legitimacy to Burhan’s coup.

“What happened on October 25 was a coup d’etat (…) and we will not stop demonstrating until we have a civilian government,” a woman told AFP on Saturday. masked man demonstrating near the presidential palace.

Othman Mustafa, a 31-year-old protester, said: “We don’t just want the military to come out, we want to choose our own Sudan that looks like us, meets our demands and gives everyone equal rights.

In addition to rallies in Khartoum and its suburbs, protesters also marched through the streets of Wad Madani, a town about 150 kilometers (90 miles) to the south, witnesses said.

Others reported protests in Atbara in the north and Port Sudan on the Red Sea coast.

Internet cut at dawn

Security forces with cranes used sea containers to block bridges across the Nile connecting Khartoum to the sister cities of Omdurman and northern Khartoum, and web monitoring group NetBlocks reported that mobile internet services had been cut. Saturday at sunrise.

Activists reported the arrests of several colleagues from Friday evening, and Volker Perthes, the UN special envoy to Sudan, urged authorities to “protect” the protests, not prevent them.

“Freedom of speech is a human right,” Perthes said on Saturday, adding that it includes “full access” to the internet.

“No one should be arrested for their intention to demonstrate peacefully,” he said.

The Medical Committee called on the world “to watch what is happening in Sudan on the issue of the revolutionary movement for freedom and democracy”.

The governor of Khartoum warned that “approaching or attacking buildings of strategic sovereignty is punishable by law”.

A spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned “the looting and violence reported around the former United Nations logistics base in El Fasher” since Friday, in part of the base handed over to officials Sudanese locals.

During the December 19 rallies, crowds began a protest “sit-in” outside the presidential palace. He recalled the action that ultimately led to the ousting of veteran strongman Omar al-Bashir three years earlier after mass protests.

Rape used as a “weapon”

But this time, within hours, the security forces dispersed the thousands of demonstrators with batons and tear gas.

Activists condemned the sexual assaults during protests on December 19, in which the UN said at least 13 women and girls were raped.

Sudan, one of the poorest countries in the world, has a long history of military coups, enjoying only rare interludes of democratic rule since independence in 1956.

More than 14 million people, or about a third of the Sudanese population, will need humanitarian assistance next year – the highest level in a decade, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Activists say more protests are scheduled for December 30.

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