Tens of thousands of protesters rallied across Sudan yesterday against the ruling generals as organisers called for a march on the presidential palace in Khartoum, in the biggest mass demonstration since a deadly crackdown on demonstrators.
The “million-man” march is being seen as a test for protest organisers whose push for civilian rule has been hit by the June 3 raid on a Khartoum sit-in and a subsequent internet blackout that has curbed their ability to mobilise support.
Dozens of demonstrators were killed and hundreds wounded when armed men in military fatigues stormed the sit-in outside army headquarters, shooting and beating protesters who had camped there since April 6.
Yesterday, police fired tear gas in the northern Khartoum district of Bahri and in Mamura and Arkweit, in the capital’s east, as thousands of protesters chanted “Civilian rule! Civilian rule!”, witnesses said. Security forces also used tear gas against demonstrators in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman and the eastern town of Gadaref, witnesses said.
The latest demonstrations come at a time when Ethiopia and the African Union (AU) are jointly mediating between the protesters and generals. The European Union, several Western nations and rights groups have called on the generals to avoid any violence.