Sudanese security forces shot dead at least 15 anti-coup protesters and wounded dozens more on Wednesday, medics said, in the bloodiest day since the military’s October 25 takeover.
The fatalities — all in Khartoum, especially its northern districts — raised to 39 the death toll from unrest since the military seized power, a pro-democracy doctors’ union said. Hundreds more have been wounded.
“The day’s massacre reinforces our slogans: no negotiations, no partnership, no compromise” with the military, said protest organisers from the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA).
Demonstrators had taken to the streets across the capital even though telephone lines and internet services had been disrupted since the military took over.
“The people choose civilian rule,” demonstrators chanted, also shouting slogans against Sudan’s ruler, top general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
The demonstrators, mostly young men and women, clapped hands and ululated before the scene turned violent.
As clashes broke out, the security forces also fired tear gas, injuring several more protesters, witnesses said.
Police have denied using live ammunition and state television announced an investigation into the deaths.
The doctors’ union said most of the casualties had suffered gunshot wounds to “the head, neck or torso”, but added that the demonstrators, undeterred and behind makeshift barricades, kept up their protests.
Demonstrations also erupted in Port Sudan, against the coup which halted a democratic transition that followed the 2019 toppling of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir.
“It was a very bad day for the protesters,” Soha, a 42-year-old protester, said. “I saw a person with gunshot wounds behind me and there were a lot of arrests” in Khartoum.
– Demonstrations after nightfall –
Hundreds remained on the streets after nightfall, especially in northern Khartoum where tear gas fire reached inside hospitals, doctors said. Rallies in other cities dispersed.
Efforts to stem the protests have seen hundreds arrested, including activists, passers-by and journalists. Qatari network Al Jazeera’s bureau chief was arrested Sunday and released Tuesday.