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Sudan police crack down on hundreds of anti-coup protesters

Protests against coup leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan also highlight tribal fighting in Blue Nile State that has killed 60 people
A Sudanese protester lifts a placard in Arabic that reads "Freedom for the detainees" during an anti-coup demonstration in Khartoum on 17 July 2022 (AFP)

Hundreds of protesters were met by tear gas in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, on Sunday, as police clamped down on Sudanese rejecting the rule of coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Security forces had erected road blocks on bridges crossing the Nile river linking Khartoum to its suburbs to deter protesters, who had vowed to take to the streets in large numbers, AFP reporters said.

In addition to demonstrating against the coup that upended the country's transition to civilian rule last October, demonstrators on Sunday also highlighted the heavy tribal fighting in Sudan's southern Blue Nile State, where at least 60 people have been killed in a week of violence.

Protesters accuse the military leadership and the former rebel leaders who signed a peace deal in 2020 of exacerbating ethnic tensions in the Blue Nile, around 450km south of Khartoum, for personal gain.

At least 163 people were wounded in the clashes between the Berti and Hawsa tribes, which erupted last Monday. 

'Three noes

The coup has sparked near-weekly protests and a crackdown by security forces that has left at least 114 killed, according to pro-democracy medics.

On 30 June, nine people were killed after tens of thousands had gathered, and their deaths reinvigorated the movement.

Days later, Burhan vowed in a surprise move to make way for a civilian government, but the country's main civilian umbrella group rejected this as a "ruse". 

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Burhan's announcement on 4 July came as hundreds of anti-coup demonstrators, led by resistance committees, entered their fifth day of sit-in protests.

People at the sit-ins, in Khartoum and elsewhere, rejected Burhan's offer and chanted slogans describing him as "the killer who cheated justice".

"We will have nothing to do with the military regime," resistance committee member Mohamed Abdul Rahim told Middle East Eye at the time. 

"We have had our three 'nos': No negotiation, no compromise, no partnership.

"What Burhan said on Monday is not even worth discussing. We saw the repeated attempts to break up the sit-ins even after his speech."