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Sudanese police use force to disperse protesters, gov’t pledges probe

Protesters flee police tear gas on 20 February 2020 (ST photo)
Protesters flee police tear gas on 20 February 2020 (ST photo)

February 20, 2020 (KHARTOUM) – For the first time during the transitional period, Sudanese police violently charged protesters in Khartoum on Thursday triggering calls to remove interior minister and to investigate the crackdown.

For its part, the government late pledged to probe the use of violence against the protesters and called for calm and restraint.

Thousands of Sudanese youth took the street on Thursday to protest peacefully against the sack of a military officer who was the first to join the popular uprising that led to the collapse of al-Bashir’s regime.

The police however fired tear gas and used batons to disperse the protesters who planned to hand over a petition calling to reintegrate him and his colleagues to the army.

While the protesters approaching the presidency, the police used tear gas against them and used batons to disperse them.

Over 19 people have been injured by the police and a journalist was beaten and his camera seized by the police officers who assaulted protesters for the first time after the ouster of the former regime.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD) said that a protester was hit by a live bullet in his abdomen and another by a rubber bullet in his leg, while the others suffered injuries by tear gas grenades.

There were strong rumours about the death of protesters but the CCSD late during the night issued a statement to deny the fake report.

The Sudanese police for its part, released photos showing four police officers injured by the protesters, in a way to suggest that they acted in self-defence.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, the spearhead of the pro-democracy protests, was the first to condemn the brutal crackdown on the peaceful protesters and called to remove the interior minister.

Also, the ruling coalition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) condemned the violence and called on the prime minister to investigate the issue.

“We also demand the Prime Ministers to urgently hold accountable the Minister of Interior and the Director of Police for the events that occurred today. Everyone should know that the people have the real authority and that the freedom of expression and assembly is one of the sanctities for which they sacrificed their soles,” reads the FFC statement.

The FFC also called for self-restraint of the protesters and urged the vigilance of the transitional sovereign council and government for the threats facing the country.

The government spokesman Faisal Mohamed Saleh in a written statement reiterated the government attachment to the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

“We strongly condemn the use of excessive violence and will investigate what occurred and the wrongdoers will be held accountable,” he further added.

The interior minister who is appointed by the military component did not issue a statement on the events that took place in the Sudanese capital.

(ST)

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