Hundreds of thousands marched in Sudan’s capital Tuesday, demanding justice for the people killed by security forces during last year’s street protests. Protest organizers say they need to keep pressure on the transitional government despite the ongoing risk of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Demonstrators waved Sudanese flags and held pictures of those killed during the 2019 protests.
A similar demonstration took place one year ago today, when hundreds of thousands marched to condemn brutal attacks against pro-democracy protesters that left more than 100 people dead.
Musatfa Abdallah was among those in the streets Tuesday, demanding punishment for those who attacked the protesters.
By Whatsapp message, Abdallah said despite the health situation, youth are in the streets marching now demanding justice for the victims of the revolution and to correct the path of the transitional government generally. He said the demands are peaceful and legal, at least in terms of justice for the revolution victims.
In April 2019, the military ousted Omar al-Bashir after four months of mass protests against his 30-year rule. A military council ruled the country for several months, until army leaders and protest organizations signed a power-sharing agreement that created a Sovereign Council to run the country until elections in 2022.
Human rights activist Alzain Othman said protesters want the people responsible for last year’s killings to be prosecuted.
Othman said protesters insisted on marching because they feel the government’s reluctance to punish anyone for the killings and the investigations have yet to achieve anything. This year’s protest is different from last year’s, he said, as last year it was against the military rule and this year it’s against even the civilians in the ministers’ council.
Sudan’s prime minister addressed the nation Monday on national TV, promising the government will make progress on the justice issue within two weeks.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese military is out in force, restricting citizen movement, especially on bridges and in central Khartoum. Hundreds of troops and heavy vehicles are surrounding military headquarters and blocking roads linking Khartoum to other cities.
Protest organizations called for this march, but asked that participants abide by restrictions to combat COVID-19, like wearing face masks and social distancing.
Sudanese health officials have confirmed more than 7,000 active cases of COVID-19. The government says lockdown measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus will end in the first week of July.