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Sudan: Tear gas fired at anti-coup protesters opposing deal with military

Anger has continued to mount since the prime minister and the military struck a deal that restored a degree of civilian rule in Sudan
Demonstrators hurl tear gas canisters during clashes in Khartoum on 30 November following protests against a deal that saw the civilian prime minister reinstated after the military coup in October (AFP)

Security officials on Tuesday fired tear gas at protesters demonstrating against military rule in Sudan as anger continues to mount over a deal made between civilian politicians and the army a month after a coup.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in central Khartoum and marched on the presidential palace, according to witnesses.

Protests have been ongoing since the military, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, seized power and detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on 25 October.

Following international condemnations and mass protests, Burhan reinstated the premier in a 21 November deal with Hamdok, which was criticised by many in Sudan.

Critics lambasted the agreement as "whitewashing" and accused Hamdok of "betrayal" as pro-democracy activists vowed to maintain pressure on the military-civilian authority.

"No partnership, no negotiation, no legitimacy," protesters chanted on Tuesday, urging the military "to go back to their barracks". 

Security forces were stationed around the palace to prevent demonstrators from approaching.

"I'm here to demand the fall of military rule," demonstrator Mohamed Alaaldin told AFP.

At least 43 people have been killed in anti-coup protests since last month, according to medics. 

Doctors have accused security forces of using live rounds but police denied the allegations saying it only used "minimum force" to disperse protests.

'Clear and decisive response'

The Sudanese Professionals' Association, an umbrella of unions that called for Tuesday's protests, accused Hamdok and Burhan of seeking to "reproduce the former regime" of president Omar al-Bashir who was ousted in April 2019 following mass protests. 

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"Taking to the streets is a clear and decisive response to the putschists' nonsense," said the SPA, which was also instrumental in the anti-Bashir protests.

Hamdok, who has been prime minister in the transitional government since the ousting of long-time autocratic ruler Bashir, has defended the deal.

He has told local media that he had partnered with the military to "stop the bloodshed" and to "not squander the gains of the last two years".

The Burhan-Hamdok agreement was welcomed by the United Nations, African Union and Western countries, as well as Arab powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which have strong ties with the Sudanese military

The military has vowed to release detainees kept in custody since the coup and several politicians have since been freed.

Burhan has also pledged to lead Sudan to "free and transparent elections" in July 2023.

He has insisted the military's move "was not a coup" but a step "to rectify the transition".