Africa

Sudan capital locked down amid pro-democracy protests after coup

Sudan's capital, Khartoum, has been locked down and roads barricaded after pro-democracy protesters took to the streets to oppose the recent military coup, Reuters reported.

Thousands of protesters demonstrated after news spread that Sudan's army seized power and soldiers arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other civilians in the Cabinet.

Seven people had been killed in clashes, the nation's health ministry said late Monday, according to Reuters.

Protesters reportedly chanted slogans like "The people are stronger, stronger" and "Retreat is not an option!" as they engaged with the security forces.

Citizens in Khartoum and its twin city, Omdurman, have been left to scramble for resources after banks and cash machines were shut down, while mobile phone apps used for money transfers could not be accessed, Reuters noted. 

The coup was led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who dissolved the military-civilian Sovereign Council set up to lead Sudan to democracy after the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

Burhan issued a state of emergency and vowed to hold elections in July 2023, when he would hand over power to an elected civilian government. 

The military and the government's "Rapid Support Forces" patrolled Khartoum neighborhoods overnight. The forces used live ammunition against demonstrators, according to the Human Rights Watch, The Associated Press reported.

The White House and State Department officials expressed alarm over the situation in Sudan on Monday, stating that they do not recognize the military takeover while calling for the immediate release of arrested officials.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement called for an immediate end to violence against protesters and the restoration of the civilian-led transitional government. 

"The United States firmly supports the Sudanese people's demand for a civilian-led transition to democracy," he said.

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