At least four anti-coup protesters shot dead in Sudan as security forces attack broadcasters

By Kareem Khadder and Céline Alkhaldi, CNN

At least four people were shot dead by Sudanese security forces During anti-coup protests near the capital Khartoum on Thursday, the Sudanese Central Medical Committee (SCDC), allied with civilians, said.

Authorities fired live ammunition and tear gas at crowds in Omdurman, about 25 kilometers (16 miles) northwest of the capital, SCDC said in a statement. He added that a number of people were injured and admitted to hospital.

In videos shared by activist groups, crowds of protesters can be seen running through plumes of white tear gas smoke and dispersing from the sound of alleged gunfire.

Other videos show protesters chanting “for civil status”.

The SCDC called on “all medical and specialist personnel” to come to the aid of the seriously injured and called on “militias” called on to obstruct the flow of ambulances and to delay the ability of medical teams to reach the injured.

CNN has contacted authorities for comment.

Thursday’s protests mark the 11th day of mass protests against the military regime since the October 25 coup. At least 52 people have been killed by security forces since, SCDC reported.

The US Embassy in Khartoum reiterated its support for “the peaceful expression of democratic aspirations and the need to respect and protect individuals exercising freedom of expression,” in a tweet Wednesday evening.

“We call for extreme discretion in the use of force and urge the authorities to refrain from resorting to arbitrary detention,” he said.

Thursday’s protests took place as Sudanese security forces sought to ban some broadcasters from covering them, according to reports from several media outlets.

Authorities raided the offices of Saudi broadcaster al-Arabiya and its affiliate al-Hadath, confiscating equipment and assaulting staff in Khartoum on Thursday, al-Arabiya said in a series of tweets.

“Sudanese security forces are raiding al-Arabiya and al-Hadath offices and confiscating equipment,” al-Arabiya said.

“Injuries among al-Arabiya and al-Hadath personnel as a result of assaults by Sudanese security forces,” another al-Arabiya tweet said. “Sudanese security forces assault and beat al-Arabiya reporters Lina Yacoub and Nizar Biqdawi, and assault and beat photojournalists and producers.

Earlier today, a Qatar-based television station said its reporters had been barred from covering the protests.

On a live television broadcast Thursday, Asharq News correspondent Sally Othman apologized to viewers saying she could not continue the show because Sudanese authorities were preventing her from doing so.

“… Forgive me, I am not in a position to continue the reporting that the authorities earlier prevented me from continuing, forgive me,” Othman said on the air.

Hours later, Asharq News said staff were arrested by security forces, posting an image of Othman with the message.

The US Embassy in Khartoum condemned Thursday’s violence, adding that “We also deplore the Sudanese security services’ violent attacks on media and journalists, and urge the authorities to protect press freedom.”

The tension is growing

Internet services have been severely disrupted since the coup and phone coverage remains spotty. Although everyday life almost came to a halt when the coup struck, shops, roads and some banks have since reopened.

The coup follows months of growing tensions in the country, where military and civilian groups have shared power since Bashir’s removal from office. Since 2019, Sudan had been ruled by a fragile alliance between the two.

That all changed when the army effectively took control, dissolving the Sovereign Council and the power-sharing transitional government, and temporarily detaining Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

The country’s military leader, General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, reinstated Hamdok last month as part of an agreement between military and civilian leaders.

Under the agreement between Hamdok and Al-Burhan, Hamdok again becomes the head of the transitional government, which was first established after the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

The Council of Ministers, which was dissolved on October 25, will be re-established and the civilian and military leaders will share power. The constitution will be amended to define the partnership between civilians and the military in the transitional government.

But the deal also includes an as yet unspecified restructuring, according to Mudawi Ibrahim, a prominent National Forces Initiative (NFI) official, which helped mediate the talks, and he has met resistance in Sudan.

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