Thousands rally in Sudan against military rule: witnesses

Thousands rally in Sudan against military rule: witnesses
Thousands of Sudanese rallied in Khartoum to demand civilian rule and protest against the military, which led a coup late last year
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Protests took place in Khartoum [Getty]

Thousands of Sudanese took to the street of the capital Khartoum on Thursday to protest against the military, which led a coup more than two months ago, witnesses said.

Sudan's armed forces led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan staged the power grab on October 25, sparking international condemnation and setting off a wave of demonstrations.

The coup, which saw the civilian leadership ousted and detained, derailed a rocky transition toward civilian rule that had started after the April 2019 ouster of veteran autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

The military takeover -- one of several in Sudan's post-independence history -- has triggered mass demonstrations and a bloody crackdown that has left at least 57 people dead and hundreds wounded, according to the independent Doctors' Committee.

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Thursday's protests broke out despite heightened security and the closure of main streets leading to the presidential palace and the army headquarters.

Protesters were seen beating drums, chanting patriotic songs and holding up posters of people killed since the coup, the witnesses said.

On Sunday, the post-Bashir civilian leader, prime minister Abdalla Hamdok, resigned, leaving the military fully in charge.

He had been detained in the coup and held for weeks before being reinstated in November -- a move the protest movement rejected as a "betrayal" and a fig leaf for army rule.

In his resignation speech, Hamdok warned that Sudan was at a "dangerous crossroads threatening its very survival".

On Tuesday, the United States, European Union, Britain and Norway warned the military against naming their own successor to Hamdok, saying they would "not support a prime minister or government appointed without the involvement of a broad range of civilian stakeholders".