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Sudan Forces Tear Gas Protesters on Uprising Anniversary


Tires are set aflame by Sudanese protesters during a demonstration against a tentative deal aimed at ending the crisis provoked by last year's military coup, in the Bashdar district in the south of Sudan's capital Khartoum on December 19, 2022.

Sudanese security forces fired tear gas Monday at protesters in Khartoum who rallied against a tentative deal following last year's military coup. The demonstrations coincided with the fourth anniversary of protests that ousted long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

Thousands of pro-democracy activists took to the streets in Sudan's capital to reject the agreement signed by military and civilian leaders on Dec. 5, which critics have dismissed as vague.

"We will not accept anything other than a civilian government," said protestor Samira Hassan.

The protesters chanted, "You will not rule us with this deal," according to an AFP correspondent. Others called on the military to go "back to the barracks."

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse the crowd, according to AFP.

Speaking to VOA, Nisreen Elsaim, a Sudanese youth protester in Khartoum and chair of the U.N. Secretary General's Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, said she could hear stun grenades near her location.

"I can hear the sound [of stun grenades] but it’s not in the area where I am," Elsiam said.

"The forces go more wider to stop the movement and to stop the protesters. So I think our group is not very much advanced, that's why they didn't use the extra weapons with us," Elsiam added.

In 2019, Bashir's three-decade rule was ended by months-long protests followed by a short-lived transition to civilian rule, upended in October 2021 when army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan led a coup, deepening Sudan's political and economic turmoil.

Sudan has been rocked by near-weekly protests since Burhan's coup.

Protesters flee before a Sudanese security forces armed vehicle in clashes during a demonstration against a tentative deal aimed at ending the crisis provoked by last year's military coup, in the Bashdar district in the south of Sudan's capital Khartoum on December 19, 2022.
Protesters flee before a Sudanese security forces armed vehicle in clashes during a demonstration against a tentative deal aimed at ending the crisis provoked by last year's military coup, in the Bashdar district in the south of Sudan's capital Khartoum on December 19, 2022.

The deal between military leaders and multiple civilian factions was the first component of a planned two-phase political process, but critics say it falls short on specifics and timelines.

While opponents at home eyed it with skepticism, the deal drew some international acclaim.

"I hope that the political process will realize the demands & aspirations of the Sudanese men & women who took to the streets 4 years ago," U.N. special representative Volker Perthes tweeted on Monday.

Sudan's Finance Minister Gibril Ibrahim, a former rebel leader who did not sign the agreement, called it "exclusionary."

"Today we observe the fourth anniversary of the glorious December revolution which did not achieve its goals," he said Monday on Twitter.

"The country is in dire need of a national consensus that does not exclude anyone."

Ahead of the protests, security forces declared Monday a public holiday and had closed roads leading to the defense ministry, shutting several of the bridges linking Khartoum with its adjoining cities of Omdurman and Bahri, where there were also demonstrations.

Some information in this report came from Reuters. VOA's Carol van Dam also contributed to this report.

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