Medics: Sudan security forces fire live rounds at protest march to presidential palace

Sudanese security forces fired live rounds onto thousands of protesters marching toward the presidential palace in Khartoum on Tuesday, in one of the biggest rallies since the nationwide protests against worsening economic conditions erupted a week ago in the capital, according to medical sources.

Medics affiliated with the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, a union close to the opposition against President Omar al-Bashir, told Mada Masr that at least one civilian was killed and dozens were injured during the march, which began in downtown Khartoum and was mobilized by a group of independent trade unions.

“Most wounds are critical, because the security forces targeted people’s heads and chests,” one medic told Mada Masr.

Protesters taking part in the march reported to Mada Masr that the authorities deployed additional security forces to quell the march, alongside police and other militias associated with the ruling party, including the Popular Security Service as well as the Popular Defense Forces.

The protests, which erupted on December 19 over inflation, food shortages and rising prices have grown to calls for the ouster of Bashir, who has been in power since 1989.

On Monday, the London-based rights group Amnesty International reported that 37 people had been killed since the beginning of protests.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese Journalist Network reported on Wednesday that nine journalists have been detained and physically assaulted for their coverage of the protests.  

On Tuesday, Bashir cut short his two-day visit to the Gezira State, south of Khartoum, as protesters chanted against him while he was inaugurating a football stadium in Wad al-Hadad village, eyewitnesses told Mada Masr.

Shortly before ending his visit, Bashir addressed the public in a speech in which he accused foreign countries of conspiring against his rule, claiming that they were using “traitors and mercenaries” from inside the country and exploiting the shortage in commodities to sabotage Sudan.

“Our enemies, including certain international players, want us to surrender and leave our Islam and Sharia, but we won’t. We will continue challenging them,” he said.

In an address to his forces in North Darfur, General Mohamed “Hemeti” Hamdan, the commander of the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary force tasked with protecting the president, denounced the shortage of cash in banks and other essential commodities, and criticized the government for not closely following the situation, in what seems to be a disagreement between allies.

Hemeti’s remarks comes a few days after the Sudanese military reiterated its loyalty to Bashir in a statement published by the Sudanese State Agency on Sunday, saying that the Armed Forces, Rapid Support Forces and other security bodies have pledged their support for the president.


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