Security forces in Sudan have fired tear gas at pro-democracy demonstrators in the latest mass protests against military rule following October’s coup.

 

Thousands of people in several cities took to the streets chanting anti-coup slogans and calling for the downfall of Sudan’s ruling council.

Tear gas was used to disperse crowds in the capital Khartoum and in Port Sudan.

Tuesday’s protests come two days after the resignation of the civilian Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok.

Mr Hamdok quit after a recent deal he made with the military to share power sparked outrage.

Rallies calling for a return to full civilian rule have taken place across the country since the army seized power on 25 October. The military has often responded with force.

At least 56 people have been killed during protests so far, according to the pro-democracy Sudan Central Doctors’ Committee, which says most were shot by security forces.

On Tuesday, demonstrators used burning tyres to block roads in Khartoum and in the neighbouring city of Omdurman, while in Port Sudan – where some of the largest crowds had gathered – there were reports of gunshots.

One protester in Khartoum, named only as Sherif, said he would continue demonstrating until there was an end to military rule, adding that he also wanted to see justice for those who had lost their lives.

“There are people who were killed, and every person who made a Sudanese bleed must be held accountable,” he told the AFP news agency.

Another, Mona, said the prime minister’s resignation did not alter the demands of the protest movement.

“What is built on falsehood will remain wrong,” she said, “and the coup from the beginning was wrong.”

Coup leader Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has defended the military’s move to seize power, saying the army had to act to prevent a civil war.

He has said Sudan is committed to the transition to civilian rule, with elections planned for July 2023. However, it is unclear how much power the new civilian government will have, as it will be subject to military oversight.

On Monday, the general told military leaders the army was the “nation’s safety valve” and that it would “protect the democratic transition”.

Pro-democracy activists accuse the military of stealing the revolution that led to long-serving ruler Omar al-Bashir being ousted in 2019.

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