Protests continue in Sudan’s capital days after political deal

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Sudanese security forces used tear gas and blocked roads and bridges on Thursday as they sought to contain scattered protests in the capital, a Reuters reporter said, three days after an initial deal was signed to launch a new political transition.

Thousands of protesters gathered in the afternoon in several areas of Khartoum, including close to the presidential palace where the military and civilian parties on Monday struck a framework deal for the formation of a civilian government.

Opinion about the deal is divided, with some Sudanese saying it could bring stability and others rejecting the military’s involvement.

“We will bring down the agreement just like we brought down the coup,” said Safaa Saleh, a 22-year-old university student protesting in Khartoum. “We want justice for the martyrs and reject the military.”

Protests carried on after sunset, and police moved to shut several bridges between Khartoum and its neighbouring cities of Omdurman and Bahri later in the day than normal, causing gridlocked traffic on some streets.

The framework deal seeks to turn a page on an October 2021 military coup that derailed the transition towards democratic elections started after the overthrow of former leader Omar al-Bashir in a 2019 uprising.

The coup led to more than a year of anti-military rule street rallies in which medics have recorded more than 120 protester deaths, and the suspension of billions of dollars of badly needed international financial assistance.

Monday’s agreement was widely welcomed by the international community, but it leaves contentious issues, including justice over protester deaths and security sector reform for a second phase of talks.