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05.06.2019 Sudan

Sudan protesters call for more rallies after deadly crackdown by security forces

By RFI
Stringer/Reuters
JUN 5, 2019 SUDAN

Sudan's protest movement has called for new pro-democracy rallies, rejecting the country's military rulers' election plan after what they called a “bloody massacre” by security forces clearing out demonstrators in front of military headquarters on Monday.

Protest leaders said the large square outside army headquarters where demonstrators had camped out day and night since 6 April had been cleared. During the operation, 40 people were killed. The Transitional Military Council, which took over after the ousting of president Omar al-Bashir in April, after months of protests, said it "regrets" the events, calling it a "clean-up operation" that went wrong.

Security forces killed at least twenty other people across the country on Monday and Tuesday, according to the Sudan Doctors' Committee, the medical arm of the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which has been spearheading the protests against army rule.

Civil disobedience
Protest leaders called on supporters to take part in "total civil disobedience" to overthrow the ruling military council.

The military had initially agreed a three-year transition period to a civilian administration, but since then army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said an election would take place within nine months, under "regional and international supervision".

The SPA rejected the call and urged the global community "to isolate and stop dealing with the so-called military council" and asked for an independent investigation into the killings under international supervision.

International condemnation
During a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, the UN Security Council attempted to condemn the killing of civilians and to call on the military and protesters to work together. But the bid was blocked by China, backed by Russia.

Eight European countries, including France, instead issued their own joint statement criticising "the violent attacks in Sudan by Sudanese security services against civilians". The United States, Britain and Norway issued an earlier joint statement condemning the military's election plan.

Moussa Faki, head of the African Union Commission, also backed "an immediate and transparent investigation".

Western and African governments have been supportive of the protesters, but Arab governments, led by Saudi Arabia, have backed the military rulers.

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