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Sudan December 19 demos reach Republican Palace despite SAF/RSF blockades

December 20 - 2021 SUDAN
The December 19 Marches of the Millions in the capital Khartoum continued late into the evening (Photo: Social media)
The December 19 Marches of the Millions in the capital Khartoum continued late into the evening (Photo: Social media)

The strategy employed by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to thwart the December 19 Marches of the Millions in the capital Khartoum, and cities across Sudan yesterday, to mark the third anniversary of the revolution that overthrew the 30-year Al Bashir dictatorship in 2019, was largely unsuccessful as mass protests bypassed the barriers and entered key points including the grounds of the Republican Palace in Khartoum.

The security forces responded with heavy fire, tear gas, and stun grenades. According to initial field reports, at least one protestor was killed. The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors identified the victim as 28-year-old Mohamed Majzoub. More than 240 people were injured during yesterday’s marches. Two rapes and multiple sexual assaults have also been reported.

Reports from the ground suggest that elements of the RSF were seen shaving the heads of protestors, as well as stealing their mobile phones and money.

The Khartoum Resistance Committee announced at sit-in at the Republican Palace, however a heavy-handed response from the security services dispersed the gathering, and protestors were forced to return home.

Yesterdays marches not only mark the anniversary of the revolution, but are also a continuation of the ongoing campaign of civil disobedience, organised by the Forces for Freedom and Chance (FFC) – the main drivers of the 2019 revolution – along with Sudan’s Resistance Committees, to express their rejection of the military coup d’état of October 25, and the subsequent political agreement, signed by coup leader Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan and Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

Video: El Nour Abdallah / RD

Preparation

In a message to the Sudanese public via WhatsApp on Sunday, the Resistance Committees said they expected five million people to join the marches in all states of Sudan. The committees say that “more than 1,300 medical doctors are ready to do what is necessary” and that “all hospitals have offered to receive all cases”. They say that two million Sudanese flags and revolutionary banners have been provided, and photos of the martyrs distributed to all committees.

The committees point out that dozens of international news agencies will cover the demonstrations, and that “cameras have been put in specific places to monitor expected cases of shooting by snipers and other forces, to determine the identity of the shooters,” while “international and regional organisations will monitor any violations via satellite.”

Marchers at the Republican Palace (Photo: Social media)

 

The El Rabita Square in Shambat in Khartoum North, on Friday evening, turned into a state of chaos after unidentified persons threw tear gas canisters at a crowd for the first public gathering called by the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC).

The FFC immediately accused elements it said were affiliated with the putschists and their affiliates for breaking up the symposium.

The FFC said in a statement late on Friday evening that these elements bombed the gathering with tear gas canisters, attacked it with knives, destroyed chairs and equipment, and attacked the media and the audience.

Witnesses from the gathering said that angry youths against FFC were probably the ones who launched the attack and thwarted the gathering, in which former Sovereignty Council member Mohamed El Faki, journalist Khaled Seleik and former rebel leader Yasir Arman were scheduled to speak.

In a statement on Friday evening, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the driving force behind the December 2018 uprising that led to the ousting of President Omar Al Bashir on April 11, 2019, condemned the targeting of public platforms and attempts to silence mouths and confiscate the rights of expression, assembly and organization from any party.

The SPA emphasised once again the failure of the November 21 agreement between El Burhan and Hamdok in all fields, and the continuation of the systematic violence from the coup security services.

The statement called on the regional and international community to realise “before it is too late” that the November 21 agreement will not lead to reforming the October 25 coup that aborted the civil democratic transition. “The violent stopping of the FFC gathering is only more evidence for this. A coup that cannot bear a public gathering will be unable to set up free and fair elections.”


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