Protesters are taking to the streets of Sudan on Saturday to demand the restoration of a civilian government.Neighborhood committees and other activists planned Saturday’s “march of millions” under the slogan “Leave.”
Volker Perthes, the special representative of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, said in a statement Friday that he “remains in constant contact with all sides to facilitate a political solution in line with the Constitutional Document. UNITAMS [the U.N. Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan] is actively coordinating with mediation efforts currently underway to facilitate an inclusive dialogue, which remains the only path toward a peaceful solution to the current crisis.”
The United States has urged the military leaders of Monday’s coup to refrain from “any and all violence” against peaceful protesters.
The appeal to Sudan’s military leaders came from a senior U.S. State Department official who was briefing reporters on condition of anonymity.
Saturday will be “a real indication of what the military intentions are,” the official said.
Security forces have killed at least nine people by gunfire and wounded at least 170 others during the protests, according to the Sudan Doctors’ Committee.
Saturday’s protests have some residents fearing a full-blown clampdown, Reuters reported.
“Confronting peaceful protesters with gunfire is something that should not be tolerated,” said Haitham Mohamed in Khartoum. “It will not make us back down; it only strengthens our resolve.”
The military takeover occurred after weeks of escalating tensions between military and civilian leaders over Sudan’s transition to democracy. The coup threatens to derail the process, which has slowly progressed since the army ousted longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir, ending a popular uprising in 2019.
Sudanese military chief General Abdel-Fattah Burhan said Tuesday the army’s overthrow of the country’s transitional government was necessary to avoid a civil war.
Guterres said in a statement Friday “I urge the military to show restraint and not to create any more victims. People must be allowed to demonstrate peacefully. And this is essential.”
Some information in this report came from Reuters.
State Department Bureau Chief Nike Ching also contributed to this report.