Security forces shoot to break sit-in at Sudan army HQ
Over the past 24 hours the Sudanese security forces have tried to break the sit-in by tens of thousands of protesters in front of the Sudanese army's general command in Khartoum. A soldier and a man were killed by gunfire. Today started with reports of heavy gunfire heard from a protest outside the adjacent Defence Ministry.
Activists this morning said that security forces and riot police have tried to break up the gathering in front of the General Command of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Khartoum, which has continued unabated since Saturday, by force. Al Jazeera reported that the security forces used tear gas at thousands of protesters.
During the past four months demonstrators have demanded the step-down of President Omar Al Bashir and his regime from power, their numerous protests on the streets sparked by the persistent fuel, bread and liquidity shortages.
The Central Sudanese Doctors' Committee announced in a statement on Sunday that the number of deaths during the April 6 demonstrations and the sit-in at SAF headquarters rose to six by late Sunday evening.
In the early hours of Monday morning, violent confrontations broke out between the Sudanese army and security forces. This resulted in the death of soldier Sami Sheikheldin, and at least four army personnel and a number of the protesters were wounded. According to a new report, 55-year-old Ibrahim Osman was shot dead by security forces in Yasrib district in southern Khartoum Monday morning.
The number of arrests and people brought to emergency trials is unknown at the time of reporting.
Demonstrators said that a force belonging to the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) attacked the people at the mass sit-in in early Monday morning with tear gas and started beating them. However, the army confronted the security troops and exchanged gunfire with them, forcing them to withdraw.
While the general command of the SAF has made no clear statement about their position in the civil protests, the signatories of the Declaration of Freedom and Change (the groups spearheading the demonstrations, including the Sudanese Professionals Association) praised the position of the army that responds to the aggressors against the peaceful protesters.
Sarah Nugdallah, secretary-general of the National Umma Party, said in an interview with Radio Dabanga to be broadcast today that the SAF protected the masses. She pointed to the wounding of about 20 people while the army protected the crowd against security forces.
Nugdallah stressed that “the Sudanese are committed to peacefulness until the regime is toppled” and called on people in Sudan to come and take part in the sit-in.
In their statement yesterday, the Central Sudanese Doctors' Committee called on medics to go to the Royal Care Hospital, which is under heavy pressure because of the large number of injuries caused by the security forces' use of bullets in the vicinity of the General Command.
In a joint statement on Monday, Sudanese doctors in the committee has called on doctors to discontinue their strike from military hospitals in Khartoum, following the solidarity the SAF has shown with the movement calling for the fall of President Al Bashir and his government.
Loudspeakers and sleeping mattresses
Demonstrators arrived in the previous days from all over Sudan, according to witnesses, to support the protests in Khartoum. A number of them went to the sit-in in the early morning, bringing loudspeakers, sleeping mattresses and water bags.
Football players and singers show support at sit-in
Groups of supporters could be seen distributing food and drinks to the protesters. Women handed out flowers to soldiers of the military headquarters.
Sudanese stars of art, sports, theatre, drama, and the media came to the place of sit-in. Among them are former Hilal football team captain and player, Haisam Moustafa, journalist Feisal Mohamed Saleh, singers Nancy Ajaj, Alaa Mubarak and Loushi, Huda Arabi, Hasan Mahgoub, musician Husam Abdelsalam, and a number of young artists including Esam El Banna, Montasir Hilaliya, Hani Abdin, and Taha Suleiman.
Another sign of solidarity with the protesters from people in Sudan is the fact that people have been collecting rubbish in the area and cleaning streets surrounding the SAF headquarters, despite fierce clashes near the area of the sit-in and the reported deaths of demonstrators.
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