Socialist Worker

Huge protests in Sudan defy police attacks and call for an end to military rule

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2661

Protesters in Khartoum on Sunday

Protesters in Khartoum on Sunday (Pic: Geoffrey York on Twitter)


Huge demonstrations swept Sudan on Sunday demanding an end to military rule.

By 6.30pm Sudanese time protesters had reached the presidential police in the capital Khartoum, braving repeated police assaults and shots being fired in the air.

A spokesperson for an opposition group told Socialist Worker, “Nothing on Earth stops the Sudanese people from their demand for human dignity, freedom, peace and justice.

“No bullets, no teargas canisters, no violence whatsoever breaks their will and determination.”

The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said four people were killed in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman while one protester died after being hit by a bullet in the chest in the town of Atbara. Regime forces also opened fire on protesters in the eastern city of Kassala.

Around 200 people were injured, some very seriously.

The opposition to Sudan’s military rulers had called a “march of millions” in an effort to step up the pressure on the Transitional Military Council (TMC).

Sudanese police fired tear gas in an effort to disperse protesters in Khartoum.

Tens of thousands of protesters were chanting, “Civilian rule,” when police attacked crowds in the northern Khartoum district of Bahri. They also attacked protests in Mamura and Arkweit in the capital’s east.

Protesters flashing victory signs and carrying Sudanese flags had flooded the streets of the Al-Sahafa neighbourhood of Khartoum.

“We are here for the martyrs of the 3 June sit-in,” said protester Zeinab. “We want a civilian state that guarantees our freedom. We want to get rid of military dictatorship.”

 Almanshia bridge in south east Khartoum heading for the presidential palace

Almanshia bridge in south east Khartoum heading for the presidential palace (Pic: Sudanese Translators for Change on Facebook)


“No one gave a mandate to the military council, all the people are against the council,” said another protester who shouted out, “I’m the next martyr.”

Blood

Others chanting, “Blood for blood” took to the streets of the Jabra district, witnesses said, while rallies were also underway in other neighbourhoods of the capital.

On the road to the airport, security forces moved to block off crowds of demonstrators, an AFP agency correspondent reported.

Security forces used tear gas against demonstrators in the capital’s twin city of Omdurman and the eastern town of Gadaref, witnesses said.

Huge marches also took place in Elobeid city, the capital of north Kordofan, El Daein, the capital of the state of East Darfur and Alqadarif city, capital of the state of Qadarif.

Sunday is the first day of the working week in Sudan, and there were some strikes to join the protests.

These strikes, if they are spread and generalised, can break the military.

The SPA has announced a porgramme of meetings and marches leading up to "mass civil disobedience and a political strike on Sunday 14 June". 

The TMC has very little popular support. It relies for its survival on the brute force of the murderous Rapid Support Forces and other units, and the backing of regional powers Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

These are supplied and armed by Western powers, including Britain, and then hand on these weapons to Sudan’s killer regime.

It was the grossest hypocrisy for British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt to tweet in support of the protests on Sunday. His government has fuelled Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen and given it arms that it passes on to Sudan.

And Britain, alongside the EU, has aided the Sudanese regime with funds to “combat illegal migration”.

The courage and determination of the Sudanese people can overcome the regime if they use all their strength.

That means breaking from outside arbitration and talks with the military, and building on the power of strikes and mass mobilisations.


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