Saturday, July 2, 2022

Sudanese march against military rule, fear return of Bashir-era officials

Sudanese march against military rule, fear return of Bashir-era officials

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Thousands of Sudanese marched against military rule on Monday in Khartoum and other cities, a Reuters reporter said, with some voicing concern about the return to government of members of the ousted regime of ex-president Omar al-Bashir.

In the capital, security forces firing repeated rounds of tear gas blocked protesters trying to reach the presidential palace, stopping them more than a kilometer away from the building, a Reuters witness said.

Some people were seen injured and bleeding, and others fainted, carried away on motorcycles.

"Kill, kill, we're not scared," some Khartoum protesters chanted. Others gathered in the nearby cities of Bahri and Omdurman, and regional capitals Madani, Kassala, and El Geneina.

Protesters were more numerous than in recent weeks in Khartoum and several other cities.

Huge crowds have regularly taken to the streets demanding a return to civilian rule since a coup on Oct. 25 ended a power-sharing arrangement that began in 2019. The protests have continued despite a crackdown that has killed at least 79 and injured more than 2,000, according to medics aligned with the protest movement.

Military leaders have said the coup was necessary as a corrective measure, that the right to protest is protected, and have called investigations into protester deaths.

Led by neighborhood resistance committees, protesters have demanded the military exit politics completely and accused the military of working with members of the Bashir's regime.

"We came out today to gain civilian rule and to stop the return of members of Bashir's party that (General Abdelfattah) al-Burhan re-appointed. They want to bring back Bashir's regime," said Hassan Ahmed, a 41 year old engineer.

Bashir was ousted by the army following a 2019 popular uprising and replaced by a military-civilian power-sharing arrangement which ended after the Oct. 25 coup.

Since then the military has appointed some Bashir-era veterans to a caretaker government and begun to review the work of a taskforce that sought to seize regime assets and remove members from the civil service.

Fired employees have been reinstated at the country's foreign ministry, justice ministry, judiciary, and central bank.

A Sudanese journalists' union said three BBC journalists were arrested while covering the protest, and warned of continued targeting of journalists, citing an assault on reporters for Al Jazeera earlier in the week.