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13.07.2019 Sudan

Thousands rally in Sudan to mourn protesters killed in June raid

By Abdelmoneim ABU IDRIS ALI
A Sudanese mother, Khadom, mourns at the grave of her son Al-Moez, who was killed when a bullet pierced the window of his workplace during anti-government demonstrations in April.  By Claire DOYEN (AFP)
JUL 13, 2019 SUDAN
A Sudanese mother, Khadom, mourns at the grave of her son Al-Moez, who was killed when a bullet pierced the window of his workplace during anti-government demonstrations in April. By Claire DOYEN (AFP)

Thousands of Sudanese protesters rallied across the country including in the capital Saturday to mourn dozens of demonstrators killed last month in a brutal raid on a Khartoum sit-in, witnesses said.

Crowds of protesters were violently dispersed by men in military fatigues in a pre-dawn raid on a protest site outside army headquarters on June 3.

Demonstrators who had camped there for weeks demanding civilian rule were shot and beaten.

The protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, had called for marches across the country on Saturday to mark 40 days since the raid that triggered international outrage.

Saturday's rallies -- dubbed "Justice First" -- came as the protest movement urged supporters to take to the streets.

Chanting "Blood for blood, we won't accept compensations," crowds of protesters marched in Khartoum's northern district of Bahari, a protest hotbed since demonstrations first erupted in December against the then regime of now ousted president Omar al-Bashir.

Witnesses said a march also took place in the Haj Yousef area of the capital, and more rallies were expected in Khartoum later in the day.

Hundreds rallied in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum.

Hundreds also marched through the main streets of the Red Sea coastal city of Port Sudan, the country's main economic hub, witnesses said.

Protesters rallied in the eastern cities of Madani and Kassala and in the central city of Al-Obeid, witnesses told AFP by telephone.

'Justice for martyrs'

Witnesses said many protesters were carrying banners that read: "Justice for Martyrs" while others held photographs of demonstrators killed in the raid.

Protesters also marched in the town of Atbara, where the first rally against Bashir's government was held on December 19 in response to a decision to triple the price of bread.

The protests in December swiftly escalated into nationwide demonstrations against the autocrat's ironfisted three-decade rule.

Bashir was ousted by the army on April 11 after thousands of protesters camped outside the military headquarters in central Khartoum from April 6.

Protesters continued with their sit-in demanding that the generals themselves step down, ahead of their brutal dispersal on June 3.

The military council insists it did not order the raid, which according to the protest movement left more than 100 killed and hundreds wounded on that day.

But after intense mediation by African Union and Ethiopian mediators a landmark power sharing deal was reached earlier this month that aims to set up a joint civilian-military governing body.

The new governing body aims to install a transitional civilian administration for a period of just over three years.

The agreement stipulates that the new governing body will be presided over by a military nominee for the first 21 months, and by a civilian for the last 18 months.

Later on Saturday the protest leaders and generals were scheduled to hold more talks on the finer details of the blueprint, mediators said, before it is formally signed in the coming days.

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