Skip to main content

World Sudanese forces clear protesters with gunfire, transition talks suspended

Sudanese protesters celebrate after an agreement was reached with the military council to form a new transitional government of three years, in Khartoum, on May 15, 2019.

ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images

At least nine people were wounded on Wednesday when Sudanese forces used live ammunition to clear demonstrators from central Khartoum, a protest group said, and talks aimed at establishing a body to lead Sudan to democracy have been suspended indefinitely.

A spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), which spearheaded months of protests that led to the military’s removal of president Omar al-Bashir last month, said: “We hold the military council responsible for attacking civilians.”

“They are using the same methods as the previous regime in dealing with rebels,” SPA spokesman Amjad Farid told Reuters.

Story continues below advertisement

There was no immediate comment from the military on Wednesday’s violence or an SPA statement that nine people were wounded.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC), which took over after overthrowing and jailing Mr. Bashir, has said it would not tolerate the continued closure of main Khartoum roads and bridges by protesters but promised not to use force to disperse the sit-ins.

The TMC has accused demonstrators of expanding a protest site set up last month outside the Defence Ministry to other parts of the capital, disrupting movement.

Early on Wednesday the military announced a committee to investigate the targeting of protesters after at least four people were killed in violence in Khartoum on Monday.

Weeks of street protests that precipitated the end of Mr. Bashir’s 30-year rule on April 11 have continued as the opposition demands that the military hand over power to civilians.

A Reuters witness and Sudanese witnesses said that troops in military vehicles using the logo of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fired extensively as they tried to clear demonstrators on al-Mek Nimir Avenue in central Khartoum, near the Foreign Ministry.

“People were walking towards the barricades and they (security forces) were firing shots at them,” a 20-year-old demonstrator, who asked not to be named, said, showing a handful of empty bullet casings and referring to road blocks set up by protesters.

Story continues below advertisement

The violence took place hours before the TMC was due to meet representatives of the umbrella opposition group Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) to try to hammer out a final deal for the transitional period.

But a senior DFCF leader said the TMC has indefinitely suspended the talks. “No date has been set for the talks to resume,” the source told Reuters.

The two sides, which have held talks for several weeks, announced early on Wednesday they had agreed on the composition of a legislative council and the duration of the transition.

Some demonstrators expressed caution over the prospects for an agreement that would satisfy their demands for a handover of power to civilians, and for security forces to be held to account for the deaths of demonstrators.

“We are still sticking to our plan,” said Altaj Blah, a protester in central Khartoum. “The barriers are there and they are not moving until our demands are met,” he said.

In the agreement announced early on Wednesday the two sides said the transition would last three years – a compromise between the military council’s proposal of two years and the opposition DFCF’s preference for four.

Story continues below advertisement

The TMC said the DFCF would have two-thirds of the seats on a transitional legislative council while parties outside the alliance would take the rest. Elections would be held at the end of the three-year transition.

On Monday after security forces tried to clear some protest sites, at least four people, including three protesters and a military police officer, were killed in an outburst of violence. They were the first deaths linked to the protests for several weeks.

DFCF members blamed security and paramilitary forces, while also voicing suspicions that groups linked to Mr. Bashir might be fomenting unrest to undermine the chances of a political accord.

Reuters

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter