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Sudan: Teargas fired at thousands gathered at anti-government rally

It is unclear who fired the teargas at Khartoum event, which included ex-ministers from the transitional government
Footage posted online showed teargas being fired into the Khartoum crowd on 17 December, with plumes of gas choking protesters (Screengrab)

Teargas was fired at thousands of anti-government protesters in Khartoum on Friday night as they gathered to support the Forces for Freedom and Change movement, a civilian alliance that helped to spearhead the overthrow of former president Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

It remains unclear who fired the teargas, with witnesses telling Reuters that no police forces were present at the time. 

Footage posted online showed tear gas being thrown into the crowd with plumes of gas choking protesters who attended the rally, which former ministers from Sudan's ousted transitional government attended.

Protests erupted in Sudan after a military coup in October deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who was placed under house arrest. 

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The internet was also cut and protestors faced attacks from security forces. 

The demonstrations have continued despite Hamdok later being reinstated. Protesters saw the move to bring back Hamdok as a betrayal of the revolution and vowed to continue fighting against the military. 

Khalid Omar Youssef, minister of cabinet affairs prior to the coup and a prominent opposition figure who was arrested and released after the military took over, was on stage speaking to the crowds when the teargas was fired.

Youssef then tweeted that "whether they fire teargas or bullets on us, they will not silence us... we will defeat the coup and our people will regain their freedom".

Other leading opposition figurers were scheduled to speak at the event.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reiterated Washington's support for the protesters on Twitter and said the "US continues to stand with them".

"Many Sudanese people continue to demand respect for their basic human rights and to voice their enduring aspiration for a democratic Sudan," said Blinken. 

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