Sudan crackdown reveals military's limit on extent of change

Sudan crackdown reveals military's limit on extent of change

Sudan's forces violently attacked protesters, bystanders, and medical workers on June 3, 2019, reportedly killing at least 35 people and injuring hundreds, Human Rights Watch said today.

The head of the military government says they will no longer negotiate with protesters and have called for a general election within nine months.

Tensions remained high across Khartoum, with heavily armed members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, thought to have been largely behind Monday's crackdown, deployed in large numbers. The movement succeeded in forcing the military in April to remove Sudan's longtime strongman, Omar al-Bashir. "They are surrounding the sit-in from all directions", she said.

"Sudanese security forces' attacks against protesters and other civilians are wrong and must stop", the diplomats added.

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet also condemned the attack and urged the security forces to stop immediately.

The announcement came a day after Transitional Military Council forces used live ammunition to break up a sit-in protest that began in April in front of the Defense Ministry in the Khartoum capital.

On Saturday, the ruling TMC issued a statement declaring that the "sit-in has become a threat to the country".

"We are helping the transition military administration and are stressing that people must have the right to demonstrate peacefully without being subjected to any violence", said Maja Kocijančič, spokespersons for European Union foreign affairs. "They also show the magnitude of the interests that the military is protecting and, generally, open Sudan up for worrying developments with no guarantee for stability".

Protesters rejected the move because it would put the military in charge of running the election and reiterated their call for three years of civilian-led authority.

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The security services moved on the main protest site early on Monday, activists said, and heavy gunfire could be heard in video footage.

An election in nine months' time would take place under "regional and worldwide supervision", he added.

In response, the TMC expressed "sorrow for the way events escalated", saying that the operation had targeted "trouble makers and petty criminals".

Omar al-Degair, a prominent DFCF leader, said the two sides were close to reaching a final agreement that had been proposed by the TMC.

In Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman, across the Nile, thousands of people took to the streets, blocking roads with stones and burning tyres, according to witnesses and posts on social media.

Of course, what will be important to observe is the extent to which the global community writ large accepts the legitimacy of Sudan's military coup, which the Declaration of Freedom and Change Alliance - a group of opposition factions and leaders of the protest movement - is attempting to prevent.

He also said an investigation would be launched into the breaking up of the sit-in.

The AU Chairperson condemned the violence against protesters, called for an immediate and transparent investigation to hold those responsible accountable, and urged the council to protect civilians from further harm. But this violence waged against the protest movement was predictable, especially given how certain figures who now run the country have much blood on their hands from past conflicts in Sudan's periphery areas.

The UN also called for a speedy transition to a civilian government as was being demanded by the protesting citizens. The assault ended the sit-in at the heart of the movement that echoed the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings - although Sudan's sought to learn from the mistakes of other protesters.

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