KHARTUM – Thousands of protesters marching in the Sudanese capital Khartoum faced tear gas on Friday as they demonstrated against a nearly year-old military coup while seeking a political settlement.
Sudan has slipped further into political and economic turmoil since the October 25, 2021 coup, but political parties said this week talks had begun, backed by international mediators, to reach an agreement to form a new civilian government.
However, many of the protesters who marched on Friday rejected the deal, carrying signs that read “No Compromise” and chanted “No Negotiations, No Partnership with Killers”.
At least 117 people were killed by security forces during the anti-coup protests. Military leaders said an investigation into the deaths had been launched.
Security forces, heavily stationed in central Khartoum, were seen firing tear gas and pursuing protesters about 1km from the airport.
The US embassy in Khartoum tweeted Thursday warning of further violence and urged security forces “not to use force against protesters.”
In addition to the protests in Khartoum on Friday, hundreds also gathered in Wad Madani, a resident of the city, Adel Ahmed, said.
Tear gas was also fired at protesters across the Nile in Omdurman and an injured protester was seen being carried away.
Other protests took place in the neighboring city of Bahri, as well as across the country in Nyala, Atbara and Gadaref, among others.
At least 117 people have been killed by security forces during anti-coup protests in Sudan.
The protests, which fall on the anniversary of a 1964 uprising, were called by neighborhood resistance committees, which have declined talks with the military, as well as political parties currently under discussion.
Demonstrators of all ages marched on the capital’s Airport Road with loudspeakers and placards hanging.
Others burned tires to block roads.
“This revolution will continue, we reject any compromise,” said Jamal Salah, a 36-year-old protester.
Also on Friday, the governor of Sudan’s southern Blue Nile state declared a state of emergency, giving security forces full powers to stop ethnic fighting that has killed 150 people.
“A state of emergency will be declared for the entire state of Blue Nile for 30 days,” says the provincial decree for the border state of South Sudan and Ethiopia.
It called on the commanders of the police, army, intelligence services and paramilitary rapid support forces to “intervene by any means necessary to end the inter-tribal fighting”.
Clashes in Blue Nile erupted last week after reported disputes over land between members of the Hausa tribe and rival groups, with residents reporting hundreds fleeing intense gunfire and homes being set on fire.
Fighting was concentrated in the Wad Al-Mahi area near Roseires, some 500 km south of Khartoum.
“A total of 150 people were killed between Wednesday and Thursday, including women, children and the elderly,” said Wad Al-Mahi Hospital head Abbas Moussa.
“Around 86 people were also injured in the violence.”
Authorities imposed a night curfew on Monday after clashes between the Hausa and rival groups killed 13 people, but violence flared up again, according to the UN.
On Thursday, several hundred people demonstrated in Damazin, the capital of the Blue Nile, shouting “No to violence”.