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Sudan prepares for mass protests against generals

#Sudan #prepares #mass #protests #generals

Activists in Sudan called mass rallies on Thursday to demand the reversal of an October military coup that prompted foreign governments to cut aid and deepen a chronic economic crisis.

The protests come on the anniversary of an earlier coup in 1989 that toppled the country’s last elected civilian government and ushered in three decades of ironclad rule by Islamist-backed General Omar al-Bashir.

They are also coming on the anniversary of the 2019 protests and are demanding that the generals who toppled Bashir in a palace coup earlier in the year cede power to civilians.

These protests led to the formation of the mixed civilian-military transitional government that was overthrown in last year’s coup.

Security in the capital Khartoum was tight on Thursday despite the recent lifting of the state of emergency imposed after the coup.

An AFP correspondent said internet and phone lines had been cut since the early hours of the morning, a measure the Sudanese authorities often impose to prevent mass gatherings.

Sudan has been rocked by near-weekly protests as the country’s economic woes have worsened since army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan took power last year.

According to the United Nations, more than 100 people were killed in protest-related violence as the military cracked down on the anti-coup movement.

“June 30 is our way to bring down the coup and block the way for bogus alternatives,” said the Forces for Freedom and Change, a coalition of civilian groups whose leaders were ousted by the coup.

Activists have called for “million strong” rallies to mark the “June 30 earthquake”.

Small demonstrations were held in advance in order to achieve a large turnout on Thursday.

UN Special Envoy Volker Perthes called on the security forces to exercise restraint.

“Violence against protesters will not be tolerated,” he said in a statement, adding that no one “should give any opportunity to spoilers who want to escalate tensions in Sudan.”

The State Department criticized the UN envoy’s remarks, saying they were based on “assumptions” and “contradict his role as mediator” in difficult talks to end the political crisis.

Alongside the African Union and the East African bloc IGAD, the United Nations have attempted to mediate talks between generals and civilians, but they have been boycotted by all major civilian factions.

The United Nations has warned that the deepening economic and political crisis threatens to push a third of the country’s more than 40 million people into life-threatening food shortages.

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