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Protesters face tear gas and bullets to oppose Sudan coup

Published: Updated:

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in the Sudanese capital Khartoum and other cities on Saturday to protest against a military takeover, despite security forces firing tear gas and bullets to disperse them, witnesses and medics said.

One protester was killed by live fire from security forces in Omdurman, across the Nile from central Khartoum, and many others were wounded, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said.

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The demonstrations come two days after military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan announced the formation of a new ruling council that excludes the civilian coalition the military had been sharing power with since 2019.

Sudanese pro-democracy groups condemned the move and vowed to continue their campaign of civil disobedience and protests against the Oct. 25 coup.

Security forces closed bridges on Saturday between central Khartoum and its twin cities of Omdurman and Khartoum North to vehicles and pedestrians, laying barbed wire to block access. Roads to strategic sites were also shut.

As protesters began to gather in the early afternoon around the capital, security forces moved quickly to try to disperse them, firing tear gas and chasing demonstrators down side streets to try to prevent them reaching central meeting points, witnesses said.

"People were surprised that they fired the tear gas so early," said one protester in Omdurman. Protesters "retreated into the neighbourhood and barricaded the streets and now they're coming back to the main road."

Witnesses estimated the number of protesters around Khartoum to be in the tens of thousands.

During previous rallies, including on Oct. 30 when hundreds of thousands turned out, security forces had waited until later in the day before trying to disperse protesters.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, which is aligned with the protest movement, said demonstrations were "facing excessive repression using all forms of force including live bullets in several areas of the capital Khartoum".

There was no immediate comment from security forces, but Burhan has previously said peaceful protests are allowed and the military does not kill protesters.

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