A Sudanese protester walks past a burning tire on a Khartoum street A Sudanese protester walks past a burning tire on a Khartoum street 

Sudan’s military calls snap elections after brutal crackdown

Sudan’s ruling military council calls for snap elections within 9 months, a day after troops carried out a deadly crackdown on a protest camp in the capital, Khartoum.

By Devin Watkins

Streets in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, were deathly quiet on Tuesday, one day after security forces brutally dispersed demonstrators participating in a months-long sit-in.

Protest organizers say at least 35 people died in Monday’s crackdown.

After clearing the camp outside the military headquarters, the Transitional Military Council (TMC) broke its accord with opposition groups, calling snap elections.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, the main protest organizers, had called for a longer transition period, with elections in 3 years.

The group accused the military of perpetrating “a massacre” as it broke up the camp on Monday. A spokesman for the TMC said troops were in pursuit of unruly elements who had fled the protest site.

Calls for restraint

Reports emerged of security forces entering a hospital in Khartoum and shooting fleeing protesters.

The United Nations has strongly condemned the crackdown.

Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the Secretary-General, said Antonio Guterres “condemns the use of force to disperse protesters at the sit-in site, and he is alarmed by reports that security forces have opened fire inside medical facilities.”

The Secretary-General urged all parties to “act with the utmost restraint” and to uphold the human rights of all citizens, including “the right of freedom of assembly and of expression.”

‘Military coup’

The head of the military council, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, said Tuesday the military would form an interim government to prepare for elections.

Protest organizers quickly denounced the snap poll, saying the council has proved that “they are a military coup.”

Unrest has rocked Sudan since December, when rising bread prices and food shortages sparked sustained protests, which resulted in the armed forces removing President Omar al-Bashir in April.

Cut off from the center of Khartoum, protesters could be seen building barricades in the suburbs, according to the Associated Press.

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04 June 2019, 12:28