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20.02.2020 Africa

Police fire teargas, disperse protests over army's forced retirement

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Sudanese police fired teargas on Thursday at hundreds of protesters in Khartoum calling for the reinstatement of soldiers who were forced into retirement after they voiced support for last year's revolution, an AFP reporter said.

"Hundreds of youths in Khartoum demonstrated near the presidential palace carrying Sudanese flags and signs saying 'The army is Sudan's army' and 'Don't dismiss the army's free men'," an AFP correspondent said.

Protesters also burned tyres and blocked roads, but police arrived and fired tear gas to disperse them, the correspondent said.

Earlier this week, the military published a list of officers of various ranks who had been forced into retirement.

Army spokesman Brigadier Amer Muhammad Al-Hassan, quoted by state news agency SUNA, said the list was issued "as usual at the beginning of each new year".

But activists launched a social media campaign backing sidelined lieutenant Mohammad al-Sadiq, who had voiced support for their campaign from its beginning in December 2018 over the soaring prices of bread.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, the umbrella group which led nationwide street protests against Bashir, organised Thursday's protest.

Bashir's ouster in April 2019 led to months of talks that eventually produced a transitional government comprised of civilian and military officials.

Bashir's toppling after 30 years in power triggered unrest that left dozens dead, hundreds wounded and thousands jailed.

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