Thousands of Sudanese protesters rally against military rule

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Thousands of Sudanese protesters rallied Thursday against last year’s military coup and to demand civilian rule and better living conditions.

Demonstrators in downtown Khartoum shouted for the army to “go back to the barracks,” AFP correspondents reported.

Sudan has been reeling from political unrest, a spiraling economic crisis and a broad security breakdown since army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan led a coup last October 25.

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Sudan’s latest putsch upended a transition to civilian rule launched after the 2019 ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir, who ruled for three decades.

Thursday’s demonstrations saw protesters gather on a main street in Khartoum, where they also called for “safety and security” and “free health care and education.”

Near-weekly protests – and a violent crackdown that has so far killed at least 116 people, according to pro-democracy medics – have rocked Sudan since the coup.

Last month, Burhan pledged in a televised address to step aside and make way for Sudanese factions to agree on a civilian government.

Civilian leaders dismissed his move as a “ruse,” and pro-democracy protesters have held fast to their rallying cry of “no negotiation, no partnership” with the military.

Burhan late last month welcomed an initiative led by a renowned Sufi religious leader, Al-Tayeb Al-Jed, in the latest attempt “to reach national consensus.”

Protesters were, however, skeptical.

“This initiative doesn’t represent any revolutionaries. They are people who are only seeking power,” protester Shaker Mohammed said.

“We reject it completely.”

Another protester, Mohammed Abdelfattah, told AFP that such initiatives are “suspicious” and do “not represent the street.”

Earlier this month, Burhan’s deputy and paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo said last October’s coup had failed to bring about change in Sudan.

“The whole thing failed and now we (Sudan) have become worse off,” he said.

He also reaffirmed Burhan’s pledge, saying the military would exit the political scene “if that allows for Sudan to stabilize and prosper.”

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