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“You may block the roads and close the bridges, oh Bourhane, we will come to you!” “, chanted Saturday, October 30 the crowd gathered on the main avenues of Khartoum. At the call of civil society organizations and resistance committees – spearheads of the 2019 uprising – hundreds of thousands of Sudanese marched peacefully across the country against the coup of General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Al-Bourhane. A putsch started in the morning of Monday and which resulted in the dissolution of the government supposed to ensure the transition to democracy and the arrest of almost all of the civilian representatives.
To prevent the processions from meeting in the capital, the authorities blocked access to the bridges that connect Khartoum to its binoculars, Oumdurman and Bahri, across the Blue Nile and the White Nile. Barbed wire also obstructed traffic on the airport avenue. Braving the state of emergency after six days of repression and arrests that have rekindled the specter of the thirty-year reign of ousted dictator Omar Al-Bashir, protesters loudly repeated that “The people are stronger and turning back is impossible! “. Similar rallies have taken place in more than 40 cities to demand the fall of the military junta and the release of Abdallah Hamdok, the sacked prime minister and under house arrest.
Hospitals overwhelmed by the influx of wounded
Despite warnings from the United Nations and many chancelleries, violence broke out at the end of the afternoon in several districts of the capital. Heavily armed pick-ups, soldiers from the regular army, police officers and militiamen from the Rapid Support Forces used tear gas against the demonstrators before firing live ammunition, targeting the crowd in the area. Douchka machine gun and Kalashnikov. Three protesters were shot dead in Oumdurman as crowds gathered outside the vacant Parliament building. In a few hours, the hospitals of this historically anti-establishment district had to cope with the influx of hundreds of wounded. To the point that Al-Arbaeen hospital announced on Saturday evening that it could no longer receive patients.
East of Khartoum, in the district of Burri, militiamen of the Rapid Support Forces stormed the Royal Care hospital, in which demonstrators had taken refuge. In the streets at nightfall, pick-ups of militiamen chased civilians and carried out beatings. Over the night, images of the repression also flooded social networks from Nyala or Zalenji, in Darfur, Wad Madani, in the state of Al-Jazeera, or Gedaref in the east of the country.
Police denied in a statement firing live ammunition and accused protesters of “Attacked” the police. The Interior Ministry, for its part, reported several wounded soldiers. A line defended in the entourage of Abdel Fattah Al-Bourhane, who continues to insist that the general’s seizure of power is a means of “Rectify the course of the revolution” and to lead the country to free elections.
“We will take the time to heal our wounds”
“Above all, we must not fall into the trap, enraged an engineer sneaking between the barricades after having accompanied the wounded to the hospital. Bourhane does not want democracy. He wants to do like Marshal Sissi in Egypt. We think it is time for the army to return to its barracks. “
If the standoff between the street and the new power does not seem for the moment in favor of the demonstrators, behind the scenes, Abdel Fattah Al-Bourhane appears increasingly weakened. Subject to intense diplomatic pressure, the general tries, in vain, to conduct consultations to find a new prime minister. So far, no candidate has wanted to endorse the anger of the street. The army chief said the place was still free for Abdallah Hamdok. But the latter refuses to do so.
For their part, the demonstrators unanimously refuse a possible return to the status quo that prevailed before the coup. They demand the establishment of an entirely civilian government. “The military led during the first half of the transition, as planned, recalls a medical student present in the processions on Saturday. Today they have had their day and have not kept their commitments by grabbing power. There will be no negotiation with them. “
Sign that the determination of the demonstrators is not weakened, revolutionary songs still echoed in the middle of the night in the streets of Khartoum. Civil disobedience will also continue in the days to come. From Sunday the capital will remain a dead city. “We will take the time to heal our wounds and we will once again stand up against this military regime. We will have to be patient ”, a student warns, rolling empty nozzles picked up on the floor in his hand.
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“Bourhane wants to do as Marshal Sisi in Egypt”: in Sudan, the demonstrations against the military putsch repressed in violence