Sudan police fire tear gas at Khartoum protesters

Pro-democracy groups say the military should not be part of the government as they cannot be trusted to lead the transition to democracy.

People protest against the October military coup and subsequent deal that reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok in Khartoum, Sudan [Marwan Ali/AP Photo]

Sudanese police have fired tear gas at protesters, who rallied near the presidential palace in the capital Khartoum to voice their anger against a military deal that re-instated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

Thousands of people took to the streets in Khartoum and other Sudanese cities on Monday as part of relentless demonstrations against the October military coup and subsequent deal that has allowed the military to remain part of the transitional council formed in 2019 following the overthrow of longtime President Omar al-Bashir.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan dissolved the military-civilian Sovereign Council on October 25 that had been set up to guide the country to democracy and declared a state of emergency across the country.

Mass protests and international condemnation against his move forced al-Burhan, who is also the head of the governing council, to reinstate Hamdok last month. He has also promised to hold elections in July 2023 and hand over power to an elected civilian government.

But pro-democracy groups, who were at the forefront of the uprising that toppled al-Bashir, have criticised the deal to reinstate Hamdok. They have said the military should not be part of the government as they can not be trusted to lead the transition to democracy.

Protesters in Khartoum waved Sudanese flags and chanted “civilian is the people’s choice” as well as “the people are stronger.”

People protest in Khartoum, Sudan [Marwan Ali/AP Photo]

Ahmed Latif, an eyewitness, said police used tear gas, rubber bullets, and sticks to disperse protesters near the palace in Khartoum.

“Police used intensive tear gas against peaceful protesters, and this step is a real violation and proves that the military and Hamdok don’t respect human rights or freedom of assembly,” he told Anadolu Agency.

There was no comment from Sudanese authorities on the claim.

Witnesses said protests were also under way in parts of eastern Sudan, including Kassala and Gadarif states.

“Protesters are in the centre of the city and are chanting ‘no to military rule’,” Kassala resident Mohammed Idriss told AFP.

Civilian rule

Speaking from Gadarif, resident Amal Hussein said approximately 600 protesters rallied there, where they also waved Sudanese flags and chanted slogans demanding civilian rule.

Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan reporting from Khartoum said the protesters had met tear gas by security forces.

“We’ve already seen at least two protesters being carried away after they sustained injuries as a result of the canisters hitting them,” Morgan said.

“But despite that force and despite the fact that Prime Minister Hamdok has promised to appoint a civilian government, protesters say the fact that the military is in the picture is why they’re rejecting that deal in the first place.”

Following the October 25 coup, previous protests met a violent crackdown that left nearly 50 people killed and hundreds wounded, mostly by bullets, according to a pro-democracy doctors’ union.

Al-Burhan has insisted that the military takeover was “not a coup” but a step “to rectify the transition” towards full democracy that started with the 2019 removal of al-Bashir.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies