Sudan forces fire tear gas at rally against post-coup deal
Thousands of protesters take to the streets in Sudan's capital to reject the agreement signed by military and civilian leaders on December 5.
Sudanese security forces fired on Monday tear gas at protesters in Khartoum who rallied against a deal aimed at ending the crisis provoked by last year's military coup, AFP correspondents reported.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Sudan's capital to reject the agreement signed by military and civilian leaders on December 5, which critics have dismissed as vague. Security forces later fired tear gas to disperse the crowd, the AFP correspondents said.
Monday's demonstration coincided with the fourth anniversary of the outbreak of months-long mass protests that ousted long-time former Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in April 2019.
Bashir's three-decade rule was followed by a short-lived transition to civilian rule, which ended in October 2021 when army chief Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan led a coup, deepening Sudan's political and economic turmoil. Sudan has been rocked by near-weekly protests since Burhan's coup.
The deal between military leaders and multiple civilian factions was the first component of a planned two-phase political process, but critics say it falls short on specifics and timelines.
If the deal takes place as planned, the civilian signatories will agree on a prime minister who will drive the country through a 24-month transition.
The initial deal was welcomed by the United States and European Union in a joint statement from the "Friends of Sudan" group, which also included Britain, France, Canada, Germany, Norway, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.
While opponents eyed it with skepticism, the deal drew some international praise.
UN Special Representative Volker Perthes tweeted on Monday, "I hope that the political process will realise the demands & aspirations of the Sudanese men & women who took to the streets 4 years ago."
On the anniversary of the December revolution, I hope that the political process will realize the demands & aspirations of the Sudanese men & women who took to the streets 4 years ago and continue to struggle for a future of peace, democracy, human rights and equal citizenship.— Volker Perthes (@volkerperthes) December 19, 2022
Sudan's Finance Minister Gibril Ibrahim, who did not sign the agreement, called it "exclusionary".
"Today we observe the fourth anniversary of the glorious December revolution which did not achieve its goals," Ibrahim said on Twitter.
He underlined that "the country is in dire need of a national consensus that does not exclude anyone."
Sudanese authorities declared Monday a public holiday and security forces sealed off bridges leading to the capital. Roads leading to the army headquarters in Khartoum were also closed, an AFP correspondent said.
The protesters waved the Sudanese flag and carried posters with images of people killed during anti-coup demonstrations since October 2021. At least 122 people have been killed and thousands wounded in the crackdown, according to medics.
Read more: Sudanese demonstrator succumbs to injury in Port Sudan