Sudanese forces fire tear gas as protesters march towards the presidential palace

KHARTOUM, December 25 (Reuters) – Protesters opposing the military regime arrived near the presidential palace in the Sudanese capital for the second time in a week on Saturday, TV footage showed, despite heavy tear gas and a blackout communications.

A Reuters witness said security forces fired tear gas to disperse crowds on a tenth day of large protests since the October 25 coup.

The Sudanese Central Medical Committee said 178 people were injured in Saturday’s protest, including eight from live ammunition.

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In separate statements, the committee said security forces entered hospitals in Khartoum and Port Sudan.

Protests against the coup continued even after Abdallah Hamdok was reinstated as prime minister last month. Protesters demanded that the military play no role in government during the transition to free elections.

A week ago, demonstrators began a sit-in at the gates of the palace before being dispersed. But on Saturday, they were greeted by security forces and turned away.

Internet services were disrupted in the capital and residents were unable to make or receive phone calls, witnesses said, while soldiers and Rapid Support Forces blocked roads leading to bridges between Khartoum and Khartoum. Omdurman, its sister city across the Nile.

Service started to return for at least some users late on Saturday.

Some people have managed to post images on social media showing protests in several other cities, including Madani and Atbara.

In Omdurman, security forces fired tear gas at protesters near a bridge connecting the city to central Khartoum, another Reuters witness said.

People march towards the Presidential Palace in protest against military rule following last month’s coup in Khartoum, Sudan on December 19, 2021. REUTERS / Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / File Photo

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“Straying from the peace, approaching and encroaching on sovereign and strategic sites in central Khartoum is a violation of the laws,” the state news agency SUNA reported, citing a provincial coordinating committee of Security.

“Chaos and abuse will be addressed,” he added.

Protesters in Khartoum chanted: “Close the street! Close the bridge! Burhan, we will come directly to you ”, referring to the military chief and head of the sovereign council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

UN Special Representative in Sudan Volker Perthes urged Sudanese authorities not to block Saturday’s protests.

“Freedom of expression is a human right. This includes full internet access. According to international conventions, no one should be arrested for intent to demonstrate peacefully, ”Perthes said.

The military could not be reached immediately for comment.

Sources told Reuters that they heard gunshots near the offices of UNAMID peacekeepers in Darfur on Saturday morning.

Last Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people marched towards the presidential palace and security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the protesters.

Forty-eight people have been killed in the crackdown on protests against the coup, the Sudanese Central Medical Committee said.

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Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir and Khalid Abdelaziz; Written by Nayera Abdallah and Sarah El Safty; edited by Barbara Lewis, Hugh Lawson and Dan Grebler

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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