Sudanese anti-coup protesters manned barricades in Khartoum on Sunday, a day after a deadly crackdown on mass rallies.
Tens of thousands of people turned out across the country for Saturday’s demonstrations, and at least three people were shot dead and more than 100 people wounded, according to medics. Police denied the killings or using live bullets.
On Sunday the feared Rapid Support Forces militia and police special forces forced some protesters from barricades in al-Daim neighbourhood, in the south of Khartoum, as a defiant civil disobedience campaign against the military takeover extended into a seventh day.
Mustafa Hassan told the Guardian he had been sitting outside having coffee under a tree near where he lives in south Khartoum when the forces came in carrying guns and sticks. “They beat me and everybody on the street including an elderly man, shouting at us to remove all the barricades. They do not have mercy, they do not respect old people, I felt sorry for the old man,” he said.
Another protester said many of the barricades went back up when the security forces left. “They ran away when the security forces came in here, but when they removed them and left they came back to build new barricades,” said the man, who did not want to give his name for security reasons.
“The opposition to this coup is huge, it is on the social level, I was sitting here upstairs and seeing even children and women and young girls are all part of the resistance. That’s what the opposition lacked for years during [the former dictator Omar al-] Bashir’s time.”
The protests are in response to Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan dissolving the government on 25 October, declaring a state of emergency and detaining Sudan’s civilian leadership. Sudan had been ruled since August 2019 by a joint civilian-military council as part of a now derailed transition to full civilian rule.
Volker Perthes, the UN special representative to Sudan, said on Sunday he had met the detained prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, who is under armed guard by the ruling military junta. “He remains well but under house arrest,” Perthes said. “We discussed options for mediation and the way forward for Sudan. I will continue these efforts with other Sudanese stakeholders.”
The independent Central Committee of Sudan’s Doctors said on Sunday that militias had shot dead a protester on the day of the coup, pushing its overall tally to 12 dead. A senior US official had estimated that at least 20 to 30 people were killed before Saturday’s protests.
The coup has sparked a chorus of international condemnation and punitive aid cuts, and world powers have demanding a swift return to civilian rule and called for the military to show restraint against protesters.