A protester was killed in Sudan Tuesday, medics said, as pro-democracy demonstrators marked the first anniversary of a coup that derailed a transition to civilian rule.
Waving Sudanese flags, thousands of protesters in Khartoum and its suburbs defied security forces who have carried out deadly crackdowns on past rallies, demanding that “soldiers go back to the barracks”.
Security forces responded with tear gas in some areas.
“No partnership, no negotiation with the putschists,” protesters chanted, in what has become a pro-democracy rallying cry.
In Omdurman, across the Nile from Khartoum, a demonstrator was “run over by a (security) forces vehicle”, said the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors in a statement, raising the death toll in the crackdown since the coup to 119.
A year ago to the day, army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan seized power and arrested the civilian leaders with whom he had agreed to share power in 2019, when mass protests compelled the army to depose one of its own, long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir.
Protesters, calling out that the “revolution continues”, have demanded “a civil democratic Sudan”.
Eyewitnesses said thousands also protested in the cities of Wad Madani and El Obeid south of Khartoum, Gedaref and Port Sudan in the east, Atbara in the north and Nyala in the southwestern Darfur region.
In an attempt to stem protests, authorities restricted internet access nationwide, online monitor NetBlocks said. Access was restored later Tuesday.
– Security forces deployed –
The authorities in Khartoum ordered all public institutions, schools, and businesses shut Tuesday, as security forces blocked roads and bridges.
Police accused some protesters of “being armed and trained in violence”.
“We’ve been protesting for a year now, and that has enabled us to contain the coup” that gained no “international or regional recognition”, one protester in Khartoum told AFP.
Another, the Sudan flag draped across his shoulders, said: “It’s the first time in history we’re seeing a coup failing to move forward even an inch in a whole year.”
For 12 months, near weekly protests have been met with force. On Sunday, security forces shot dead a protester, pro-democracy medics said.
Western governments say Sudan must return to civilian rule before crucial aid halted in response to the coup can resume.
Already one of the world’s poorest countries, Sudan has plunged into a worsening economic crisis.
Between three-digit inflation and chronic food shortages, a third of its 45 million inhabitants suffer from hunger, a 50 percent increase compared with 2021, according to the World Food Programme.
The cost of food staples has jumped 137 percent in one year, which the WFP says has forced Sudanese to spend “more than two-thirds of their income on food alone, leaving little money to cover other needs”.
Many worry that three years after the 2019 uprising that toppled Bashir, signs point to a reversal of their revolution.
Since the coup, several Bashir-era loyalists have been appointed to official positions, including in the judiciary, which is currently trying the former dictator.
Burhan’s pledge of elections next year is seen as far-fetched, no civilian leaders have taken up the mantle of the army chief’s promised civilian government, and international mediation efforts are stalled.
“All political actors need to put aside differences and focus on the best interest of the Sudanese people,” UN envoy to Sudan Volker Perthes said Saturday.
– Deadly clashes –
On Friday, 31 protesters were injured, including three who were hit in the eye by tear gas canisters, according to pro-democracy medics.
Western embassies on Monday urged security forces “to refrain from using violence against protesters and to fulfil their obligation to protect freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly”.
A broader security breakdown nationwide has also left nearly 600 dead and more than 210,000 displaced as a result of ethnic violence this year, according to the United Nations.
Sudan is the world’s fifth most vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change, according to a 2020 ranking in the Global Adaptation Index, compiled by the Notre Dame University in the United States.
More than two-fifths of people depend on farming for a living, and conflicts regularly erupt over access to land, water and livestock grazing.
In the southern Blue Nile state, awash with automatic weapons after decades of civil war, some 250 people were killed in clashes over land last week, the UN said.
© Agence France-Presse

Source: Seychelles News Agency