KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudanese security forces fired tear gas at crowds who massed in Khartoum on Saturday to rally against military rule and mark the third anniversary of the killing of scores of protesters.
The crowds blocked a major road junction in the capital and laid out food to break their Ramadan fast. But just before sundown, officers began breaking up the rally and chased demonstrators into side streets, a Reuters reporter said.
Postings on social media said people also gathered in the cities of Madani, Kosti and El Obeid, carrying posters with faces of some of the young men killed in 2019.
“We will continue on the path the martyrs began,” said one of the protesters in Khartoum on Saturday who declined to be named.
Protests and unrest have continued to rock Sudan since months of massed demonstrations culminated in the overthrow of former president Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.
On June 3 that year, armed men charged pro-democracy demonstrators who were holding a sit-in outside the military headquarters in the centre of the capital, demanding the army hand over rule to civilians after Bashir’s ousting.
Activist doctors said nearly 130 people were killed in that raid and ensuing violence. Official tallies put the death count at 87.
The military later agreed to share power with civilians but took power again in a coup in October 2021.
Sudanese police could not be reached for comment on Saturday, the third anniversary of the sit-in raid according to the Islamic lunar calendar.
Khartoum state’s security committee had on Friday called on protests to remain peaceful and blocked off central Khartoum.
Military leaders have denied responsibility for the 2019 killings. A number of more junior officers are on trial over the deaths.
Since the October coup, many of Bashir’s former allies have been allowed to rejoin the civil service while others have been freed from jail.
“It’s very disappointing that we put in so much work to get them out, and they’re starting to come back,” Hassan, an unemployed 30-year-old protester in another part of Khartoum, said.
(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Andrew Heavens)