Hundreds rally in Sudan for justice over 2019 protests killings

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Khartoum

Hundreds rallied on Tuesday in the Sudanese capital demanding justice for protesters killed during anti-government demonstrations which led to the ouster of president Omar al-Bashir more than two years ago.

The protest was held outside the army headquarters in Khartoum at the site where thousands gathered in 2019 initially demanding Bashir should step down and urging a transfer to civilian rule.

Tuesday’s demonstration started shortly before iftar, the evening meal which breaks the fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

It marked two years since the bloody dispersal of the mass encampment outside the army headquarters. Young demonstrators were seen carrying banners and photos of the people killed during the crackdown on the 2019 sit-in, according to an AFP correspondent.

“Retribution for the martyrs,” many chanted as they waved Sudanese flags. “We will continue calling for justice,” said protester Samar Hassan.

One protester gave a speech calling for further demonstrations if the government failed to present the findings of an investigation into the 2019 killings in the coming weeks.
Witnesses said security forces fired tear gas to disperse the protesters.

Later, the Sudanese Professionals Association, a trade union alliance spearheaded anti-Bashir protests more than two years ago, said in a Facebook post that one protester was killed after “suffering a gunshot wound.”

Ahead of Tuesday’s gathering, Sudanese authorities set up roadblocks on the routes leading to the army headquarters.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok called the 2019 crackdown “extreme brutality”.

He vowed his transitional government, which took power after Bashir’s ouster, would “bring perpetrators to justice”.

The 2019 sit-in was held to call for an end to Bashir’s three-decade rule. The iron-fisted ruler was ousted in April 2019, but the protesters kept up the encampment for weeks demanding the transfer of power from the military to civilians.

In June 2019 and towards the end of Ramadan, armed men in military fatigues violently dispersed the camp.

The days-long crackdown left at least 128 people dead, according to medics linked to the protest movement.

The ruling generals at the time denied ordering the bloody dispersal and called for a probe into the incident.

An investigation committee was launched in late 2019 to look into the events, but has yet to wrap up its inquiry.—AFP

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