Sudanese security forces fire tear gas at protesters

Sudanese security forces fire tear gas at protesters
Internet and mobile services also seem to have been disrupted in Khartoum

Security forces fired tear gas at protesters trying to march towards the presidential palace in Sudan’s capital on Thursday, a Reuters witness said.

Thursday was the 11th day of major demonstrations since an 25 October coup, which saw Abdallah Hamdok removed and then reinstated as prime minister. The demonstrators have demanded that the military play no role in government during a transition to free elections.

Most bridges to Khartoum were closed, with at least two of them blocked by shipping containers. An army checkpoint with an armoured vehicle was seen stationed at one of the bridges that remained open.

Protesters heading towards a blocked bridge connecting the city of Bahri to the capital chanted: “As much as we sacrifice and die, we won’t be ruled by the boot.”

The Reuters witness said tear gas was fired towards the protesters in Bahri, near the bridge.

On Saturday, protesters opposed to military rule reached near the presidential palace, despite heavy tear gas and a communications blackout.

Internet and mobile services appeared to be disrupted in Khartoum again on Thursday.

Reuters staff were unable to make or receive domestic and international calls and a source from a telecoms company said an order to shut down internet services had come from the state-owned Sudan National Telecommunications Corporation.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said more than 200 people were injured during Saturday’s protest, with six wounded by live bullets.

The committee also reported 48 deaths in crackdowns against military rule since October.

“I come for the martyred. I’m not going to be tired because some people gave their lives for this. Being tired is nothing compared to that,” a nurse in Bahri who has attended all 11 protests and gave her name as Jihad.

Several young men wore gloves to allow them to throw back tear gas canisters and stun grenades.

“I wear this glove to keep my brothers and sisters and mothers safe. When the police fire tear gas, I can throw it back,” said one young man who asked not to be identified.

Sudan’s sovereign council this week reinstated powers of arrests, detentions and seizures to the country’s intelligence service.