Sudanese hold ‘day for martyrs’ after anti-coup protest killings

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Civil society groups hold a day of solidarity with families of dozens of protesters killed since October 25 coup.

Published On 21 Jan 2022

Sudanese anti-coup protesters have held a “day for the martyrs”, gathering outside the homes of some of those killed in a bloody crackdown on demonstrations since an October military takeover.

In Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman on Friday, dozens of people headed towards the home of John Kual, a 37-year-old electrician from South Sudan, some shouting “power to the people”.

Friends said Kual had regularly attended demonstrations until he was shot in the chest on Wednesday while protesting against the security forces’ use of deadly violence.

Al-Tahami Khalifa, 60, who was among those at the procession that followed the Friday Muslim prayers, called for an end to “an unjust and criminal regime”.

Marches also headed to the homes of other bereaved families across the capital, activists said.

Civil society groups had called for a day of solidarity with the families of the dozens of protesters killed since General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan led a coup on October 25 that derailed the country’s fragile transition to civilian rule.

Regular demonstrations against the military takeover have sometimes been attended by tens of thousands, and trade unions, political parties and community groups have called for new protests on Monday. At least 73 people have been killed as security forces cracked down on the protests, according to an independent group of medics.

Burhan this week announced a new “cabinet in charge of current affairs”, appointing some deputy ministers in the deposed civilian government as ministers.

Among them was Ayman Sayyid Salim, who was appointed youth and sports minister and who resigned on Friday in a letter made public.

He expressed “surprise” at what he deemed an “unconstitutional” appointment and said he paid “tribute to the martyrs”.

Separately on Friday, the United Nations expert on human rights in Sudan, Adama Dieng, who was appointed in November and was due to arrive in the country Saturday on his first official visit, said authorities had requested it be postponed.

“I call upon the authorities in Sudan to communicate the dates for my next visit as soon as possible,” Dieng said in a statement, denouncing “the deteriorating human rights situation in the country”.

Amid an international push for dialogue, United States diplomats visited Khartoum this week in an attempt to help end the crisis.

The US said it will continue withholding aid from Sudan until the country’s military rulers stop the killing of anti-coup protesters and a civilian led-government takes power.

The joint statement came after a two-day visit by US Assistant Secretary of State Molly Phee and Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa David Satterfield, who held meetings in Khartoum with families of those killed during the protests.

They also met with civil society activists and military leaders.

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