Sudanese barricade streets, close shops after 7 killed

AFP , Tuesday 18 Jan 2022

Sudanese shuttered shops and barricaded Khartoum streets on Tuesday in a civil disobedience campaign to protest one of the bloodiest days since an October military takeover derailed the country's democratic transition.

Sudanese demonstrators
Sudanese demonstrators barricade al-Sahafa street during ongoing protests against a military coup in the capital Khartoum on January 18, 2022. AFP

Security forces on Monday killed at least seven people during anti-military takeover protests by thousands, bringing the total fatalities from the crackdown on anti-military takeover demonstrations to 71, according to medics.

Sudan's main civilian bloc, the Forces for Freedom and Change, called for two days of civil disobedience to begin on Tuesday.

"Shop closed for mourning," said a series of small signs posted on the closed outlets at the sprawling Sajane construction supplies market in Khartoum. One of the merchants, Othman el-Sherif, was among those shot dead on Monday.

In several other parts of Khartoum, too, many pharmacies and other shops were shuttered, according to an AFP correspondent.

Sudan's University for Science and Technology suspended all activities as part of the civil disobedience, according to an official statement.

As they do regularly, police on Tuesday fired tear gas at dozens of protesters setting up roadbloacks, this time on the streets of east Khartoum, according to an AFP correspondent.

After Monday's deaths the United Nations special representative Volker Perthes condemned the use of live ammunition and the US embassy criticised "violent tactics of Sudanese security forces," the latest such appeals by world powers, which have not curbed a rising death toll.

Washington's Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee and special envoy for the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, were expected in Khartoum where they would "reiterate our call for security forces to end violence and respect freedom of expression and peaceful assembly," spokesman Ned Price said.

On Monday, Sudan's police said they used "the least force" to counter the protests, in which about 50 police personnel were wounded in confrontations.

Authorities have repeatedly denied using live ammunition against demonstrators, and insist scores of security personnel have been wounded during protests which have occurred regularly since the October 25 military takeover.

A police general was stabbed to death last week.

On Tuesday the "Friends of Sudan" group calling for the restoration of the country's transitional government held talks in Saudi Arabia over the crisis.

"Deep concern about yesterday's violence. International support and leverage is needed. Support for political process needs to go along with active support to stop violence," the UN's Perthes said on Twitter, after attending the meeting virtually.

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