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Tear gas fired at Sudan anti-coup protestors

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Sudanese security forces fired tear gas on Thursday to disperse thousands of demonstrators demanding justice for 79 people killed following last year’s military coup, an AFP correspondent said.

In the capital Khartoum, protesters used rocks to build makeshift barriers blocking roads, while across the Nile river in North Khartoum, crowds of over 2,000 people gathered chanting slogans against the security forces.

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In Omdurman, the capital’s twin city, some 5,000 people gathered outside the home of 27-year-old Mohammed Yussef, a protester who died after he was shot in the chest during rallies on Sunday.

More than three months after the October 25 takeover led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan in the troubled northeast African country, defiant mass rallies demanding a restoration of the transition to civilian rule show few signs of abating.

The coup, one of several in Sudan’s post-independence history, derailed a fragile power-sharing arrangement between the army and civilians that had been painstakingly negotiated after the 2019 ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

At least 79 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in the crackdown on anti-coup demonstrations, according to the independent group of medics.

In central Khartoum, Burhan on Thursday met with United Nations Special Representative Volker Perthes, with the envoy urged him “to end the violence that accompanies the demonstrations,” according to state media.

The UN has launched talks between factions in a bid to resolve the crisis, has repeatedly warned the authorities against using force to stop political protests.

Sudan’s authorities have repeatedly denied using live ammunition against demonstrators, and insist scores of security officers have been wounded, while a police general was stabbed to death.

But Human Rights Watch on Thursday said that security forces at rallies last month had “used live ammunition against unarmed protesters,” reporting that anti-riot police had also “fired teargas canisters directly at protesters at the front of the march.”

HRW said it had detailed violence that took place on January 17 when at least eight protesters were killed, the second deadliest day since the coup.

Six witnesses told HRW they had seen a “militarized police unit” open fire on protesters “at multiple locations throughout the day,” while other “regular police beat and arrested peaceful protesters.”

Sudan, which was already in the grip of a dire economic crisis before the coup, has seen vital foreign aid cut as part of the international community’s condemnation of the takeover.

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