Tear gas fired as Sudan pro-democracy protests spread

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Security forces firing tear gas confronted pro-democracy demonstrators across Sudan on Sunday, AFP correspondents and witnesses said.

Hoisting Sudanese flags and posters of activists killed in the past 12 months of protests, demonstrators attempted to march on the presidential palace in central Khartoum as security forces used tear gas to disperse them.

“We are living in a non-state. It has been a year... But we will continue... The whole country is out in the street,” demonstrator Momen Wad Zineb told AFP.

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On October 25, 2021, army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan seized power, arresting civilian leaders and derailing a transition to civilian rule that had started with the 2019 ouster of long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

According to pro-democracy medics, 119 people have been killed in the crackdown on near-weekly pro-democracy protests that have been held since.

Mass protests were reignited last week on the first anniversary of the power grab, when thousands marched across Sudan, demanding an end to the political and economic crisis that has gripped the country.

One protester was killed Tuesday when he was crushed by a military vehicle in Omdurman, according to pro-democracy medics.

“We are continuing our movement, holding to our three principles: no negotiation, no partnership, and no legitimacy” for the military, Asma Harzaoui said in Khartoum, echoing the protest movement's rallying cry.

Eyewitnesses said thousands also demonstrated in the cities of Wad Madani and El Obeid, south of Khartoum, and Kassala, Gedaref and Port Sudan in the east.

Tear gas, usually used against marches in the capital, was fired at protesters in Gedaref and Port Sudan as well as in Khartoum, Omdurman and North Khartoum, where protesters tried to cross the bridge leading to the centre of the capital.

Protesters chanted, “soldiers go back to the barracks” and demanded a return to civilian rule as well as justice for protesters killed in the crackdown.

In addition, a broader security breakdown nationwide has left nearly 600 dead and more than 210,000 displaced as a result of ethnic violence this year, according to the United Nations.

The country, already one of the world's poorest, has also been sinking deeper into economic crisis.

Western governments say Sudan must return to civilian rule before crucial aid halted in response to the coup can resume.

Between three-digit inflation and chronic food shortages, a third of the country's 45 million inhabitants now suffer from hunger, a 50-percent increase compared with 2021, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).

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