A police officer has been killed during clashes that erupted between Sudanese security forces and people taking part in a protest against the October military coup in the capital Khartoum.
Wearing protective goggles and masks, protesters marched towards the presidential palace in central Khartoum on Thursday.
The protest was met with a crackdown, with security forces firing heavy tear gas and stun grenades at the demonstrators as they approached the palace.
An unspecified number of people were wounded during the crackdown. Sudanese authorities also said that a police general was killed during the clashes.
Brigadier General Ali Bareema Hamad, “fell martyr while doing his duties” in Khartoum, police said in a statement on Facebook.
Hamad “received deadly stabs by groups of protesters … in different parts of his body,” police spokesman Idris Abdalla Idris told Sudan TV, adding that other police personnel “suffered severe wounds.”
Reuters cited witnesses as saying that security forces fired gunshots at demonstrators retreating from the protest route in a nearby neighborhood later in the afternoon.
Hamad was the first officer to die in protests demanding a civilian rule that erupted late in October.
At least 63 people have been killed during the security crackdown on the anti-coup protests that erupted over two months ago, medics said, noting that many of them were shot dead by security forces.
Sudan’s military chief and de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan staged a coup on October 25 and dissolved the country’s fragile government, putting then Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok under house arrest and detaining other civilian leaders. The coup infuriated the Sudanese and sparked international outcry, including from the UN Security Council.
Hamdok was later released and on November 21 he signed a power-sharing deal with the Burhan-led junta, according to which the former would continue his career as premier and a 2019 constitutional declaration would be the basis for a political transition. According to the deal, July 2023 was set as the date for Sudan’s first free elections since 1986.
Protest rallies against the coup have continued even after the reinstatement of Hamdok, with demonstrators demanding no military involvement at all in governance. They say the deal has simply given a cloak of legitimacy to the generals, who they accuse of trying to form an autocratic regime like the one led by then President Omar al-Bashir, who was ultimately ousted through a military coup in April 2019, after ruling the country for three decades.
Earlier this month, Hamdok resigned, leaving the military fully in charge. He said Sudan was at a “dangerous crossroads threatening its very survival.” His resignation deepened uncertainty around the African country’s political future.