Protesters flood Sudan’s streets on revolution anniversary despite tear gas and bullets

Protesters entered the presidential palace but were eventually beaten back by tear gas and bullets

Hundreds of thousands took to the streets across Sudan on Sunday 19 December to demand the military leave power following the coup of 25 October. The demonstrations also marked the 3 year anniversary of the start of the revolution which toppled dictator Omar el-Bashir in 2019. Despite heavy repression, protestors converged on the presidential palace in Khartoum from around the city, reinforced by buses from the provinces. Demonstrators from Omdurman forced their way through a military blockade on one of the bridges, opening the route towards the presidential palace. The neighbourhood resistance committees which have led the movement in the streets since 25 October played a major role in mobilising for the protests. 

Marwa spoke to Middle East Solidarity from Khartoum about the scenes she witnessed as protesters attempted to occupy the presidential palace. 

“The demonstrations were huge – there were tens of thousands of us. But Al-Burhan and Hemedti’s forces used several different types of tear gas against us. We tried to reach the palace, but the gas forced us back. There was one group who managed to get into the palace, and some of the young people wanted to start a sit-in. The tear gas kept coming, we drank so much of it we had to step back to take a breath. But immediately one group of protestors ran back, another one would come forward to take their place. 

They used enormous amounts of tear gas today – several different kinds and there were many injuries and unfortunately some people were killed. 

We were demanding the complete handover of power to a civilian government and the end to military rule. We don’t want any generals in our government.” 

Marwa, Sudanese activist
Tear gas shot at protesters on 19 December in Khartoum outside the presidential palace

Thousands of demonstrators were also reported to have joined protests in Port Sudan, Kassala, El Deain and other cities outside the capital. 

Repression targeting protesters has increased in recent weeks, with many injuries as a result. The Omega Research Foundation which investigates the misuse of tear gas and other military, security and police technologies has documented some of the major types of tear gas and sound grenades being used by the Sudanese military and militias against protesters, including long out-of-date tear gas manufactured in Britain during the 1980s and early 1990s. Dozens of protesters have been injured by the security forces firing tear gas grenades directly at them. 

What you can do: 

  • Join the hundreds of participants at the recent conference in solidarity with the Sudanese Revolution by adding your name to a statement condemning the military coup and supporting the revolution. Add your name here: https://forms.gle/p5SWbyBmKsvidBJq6    
  • Invite a Sudanese speaker to your union branch meeting – contact action@menasolidaritynetwork.net for details. 
  • Pass a resolution in solidarity with the Sudanese revolution.

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