Protesters face gunfire and tear gas in Khartoum, one police officer stabbed

  • World
  • Friday, 14 Jan 2022

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Security forces opened fired with guns and heavy tear gas in the Sudanese capital Khartoum as anti-military rule protesters marched towards the presidential palace on Thursday, witnesses said.

A police officer was killed while on duty at the demonstration, police said in a statement. State television said he was stabbed by a protester.

Huge crowds have regularly taken to the streets demanding civilian rule since a coup on Oct. 25 coup ended a power-sharing arrangement that began in 2019.

Medics aligned with the protest movement say at least 63 people have been killed, mainly as a result of live bullets and tear gas from security forces.

Unlike previous protests, most bridges and roads were left open amid a lower security presence in the capital, after resistance committees rescheduled the protest from Wednesday to Thursday. Internet and phone services remained functioning.

Protesters were seen wearing protective goggles, hard hats masks, and gloves to protect from tear gas as they marched towards the presidential palace in central Khartoum. Some were pulling out bricks from the sidewalks to form barricades, a Reuters witness said.

Protesters cheered as they heard police firing tear gas.

After they were able to reach a few hundred meters fro the presidential palace, protesters were pushed back as security forces fired heavy tear gas and stun grenades. Injured and fainted protesters were carried away by motorcycles, the witness said.

Witnesses told Reuters that later in the afternoon security forces fired gunshots at protesters retreating from the protest route in a nearby neighbourhood.

Military leaders justify their coup as saving Sudan from chaos and have said they will protect the right to peaceful protest.

(Reporting by Nafisa Eltahir, additional reporting by Alaa Swilam and Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Sarah El Safty; Editing by Alex Richardson and Angus MacSwan)

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