Sudanese Organisations Condemn Tuesday's Violent Protest Dispersal

A protester holds a Sudanese flag at a street blockade in Omdurman (file photo).

Khartoum — Various organisations openly condemned the violent dispersal of a peaceful protest to commemorate the June 3 Massacre near the General Command of the Sudanese army in Khartoum on Tuesday in which the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) used live ammunition, killing two young activists and wounding dozens more.

The protesters organised a peaceful vigil to break the Ramadan fast together and commemorate the June 3 Massacre*.

The president of the Sudanese Employers Federation, Hashem Matar, decided to boycott the upcoming Paris Conference in protest against the violent break-up of the vigil. The employer's union endorsed the decision of their president in a statement yesterday.

The union also affirmed its full solidarity with the families of people killed during "the glorious December revolution, who sacrificed their lives for freedom, peace and justice".

It strongly condemned the excessive violence used on Tuesday, "that claimed the lives of two martyrs and wounded 37 revolutionaries who were exercising their right to peaceful expression".

Jamal El Kenein, head of the Nasserist Democratic Unionist Party, also condemned the shooting and announced his withdrawal from the Transitional Partners Council (TPC)* in a press conference yesterday.

El Kenein called on "our brothers from the Forces for Freedom and Change to also withdraw from the TPC as an expression of rejection of what happened and the need to hold the perpetrators accountable and those behind them".

The Sudanese Congress Party also announced the withdrawal of its chair, Omar El Dekheir, from the TPC and the withdrawal of two ministers from the government.

The party holds the ministers of Defence and Interior Affairs, the Attorney General, and the governor of Khartoum accountable "for the violence on Tuesday and similar events that preceded them".

Many other political parties and rebel groups also condemned the shooting and demanded an immediate investigation in order to bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible.

According to the National Umma Party, "the security forces still do not comprehend the requirements of the democratic transformation. They need to be restructured in a way so that they contribute to the glorious revolution, preserve public rights and freedoms, and apply the law to the fullest".

In a statement yesterday, the Communist Party of Sudan demanded the resignation of the members of the Sovereignty Council, the Council of Ministers, and the governor of Khartoum. They desire that "a fully civilian government is to be formed, with the Sovereignty council consisting of civilians only, representing the forces of the revolution".

The party said that "what happened yesterday is a crime committed in cold blood, previously agreed on, for which the military and civilian sides in the government and the governor of Khartoum bear full responsibility".

Government response

After the violent dispersal on Tuesday, the Council of Ministers held an emergency meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, to discuss the events.

Minister of Defence Lt Gen Yasin Ibrahim announced that members of government forces accused of firing live bullets at peaceful demonstrators have been detained and will be charged within a few days.

Meanwhile, the SAF announced that they have formed a committee to investigate who ordered the shooting and Attorney General Tajelsir El Hibir announced that he officially ordered the armed forces to hand over those accused of being involved in the killing of the two young activists.

* On June 3, 2019, two days before the end of Ramadan, the large sit-in in front of the army command, was broken up with excessive violence. More than 127 protestors were reportedly killed. The bodies of 40 of them were found floating in the Nile. More than 700 other protesters sustained injuries and at least 100 people went missing in what is now called the June 3 or Ramadan 29 massacre.

* The Transitional Partners Council was established on December 1 last year by the chairman of Sudan's Sovereign Council, Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan. The TPC consists of 29 members, six from the military, the prime minister, 13 from the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), and nine members of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance that signed the Juba Peace Agreement with the government on October 3. El Burhan chairs the new council as well.

The move received widespread criticism from the start, though the formation of a TPC was agreed on by the Sudanese government and the rebel groups during the peace talks in order to monitor the implementation of the peace accord in the country. According to political analyst Hafiz Ismail, "the idea of establishing this council came from the leaders of the rebel movements but it definitely serves the interest of the military".

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