At least 35 protesters were killed and over a hundred injured this morning as the security forces in Sudan forced their entry into the main sit-demonstration which has occupied the area around army HQ and defense ministry in the capital city of Khartoum for almost a month now.
After tear gas and sound grenades failed to disperse the demonstration security forces fired live bullets. The mass demonstration has been ongoing to pressurize the military junta to make way for civilian rule.
Footage uploaded on social media also shows forces charging against protesters with batons, and continuing to beat many with sticks even after they were lying on ground in a semi-conscious state. Apart from those killed, many of the injured are in a critical condition.
Tents pitched by the protesters were also set torched by the security forces. “They are now in control of most of the sit-in area and have burnt down the makeshift clinics. Most of the protesters have been dispersed. Soldiers are blocking all entrances to the area with military vehicles to stop protesters from returning,” Mohammed Alamin, a Khartoum-based journalist told Al-Jazeera.
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Many of the protesters forced to disperse from the main sit-in demonstration have regrouped in different areas across the capital city, where they barricaded different neighborhoods and blocked bridges and roads with stones and burning tires to hamper the mobility of the security forces’ vehicles.
Apart from the police, the security forces involved in the operation included the notorious paramilitary called the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which is made up of the Janjaweed fighters who were used by the ousted regime to commit a genocide in Darfur. The RSF are headed by the vice-president of the military junta currently ruling Sudan,
“The protesters holding a sit-in in front of the army general command are facing a massacre in a treacherous attempt to disperse the protest,” the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which has been spearheading the mass-demonstrations, said in a statement.
RSF troops reportedly barged into hospitals, firing live bullets and beating up the medical staff who were treating injured protestors. Many hospitals remain surrounded by the RSF.
The Sudanese Doctors Committee, which has been closely working with the protesters, has called upon all doctors to mobilize and be prepared to treat the wounded as more emergency cases are expected in the coming hours. The SPA has also called on Red Cross, Red Crescent and Doctors Without Borders to intervene as many wounded have still been unable to receive treatment.
Refusing to back down in the face of state terror, the SPA has vowed that “we will not retreat until the military junta is overthrown”, and has given a call for citizens across the country to take to streets with “peaceful demonstrations, with the closure of all major roads with barricades”. Thousands across the country are mobilizing in response to SPA’s call for a “total civil disobedience”.
The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF), which includes a number of opposition political parties in addition to the SPA, has announced that it will not negotiate with the junta anymore, but will escalate resistance.
One of the DFCF leaders and human rights activist, Dr Mudawi Ibrahim, when asked if the protesters will return to the sit-in site in front of the of army HQ, told the journalist, “the whole of Sudan is now a sit-in.”
Insisting that the junta bears the “criminal responsibility for the blood of the martyrs”, the DFCF has vowed to put the responsible personnel on a fair trial after the revolution, whose victory, its statement says, is “inevitable”.