Pro-Sudanese military protesters rally against UN bid to resolve post-coup crisis

Pro-Sudanese military protesters rally against UN bid to resolve post-coup crisis
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This comes following a UN bid to solve the crisis in Sudan after the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan launched talks with Sudanese factions earlier this month.
The protesters held up banners that urged the UN special representative to "go back home" [Getty]

Thousands of Sudanese pro-military protesters rallied Wednesday against a UN bid to resolve a political crisis in the country three months after a coup, an AFP correspondent reported.

The demonstrators gathered outside the Khartoum office of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan, or UNITAMS, which launched talks with Sudanese factions this month.

They held up banners that read, "Down, down UN", and others that urged United Nations special representative Volker Perthes to "Go back home".

"We don't want external intervention in our country," protester Hamed al-Bashir told AFP outside the UN office.

On January 10, Perthes said the consultations aimed "to support the Sudanese to reach an agreement on a way out of the current crisis". But he added that "the UN is not coming up with any project, draft or vision for a solution".

On Wednesday, UNITAMS said protesters had gathered outside the mission's office "demanding to expel the mission."

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"We defend freedom of assembly & expression and offered to receive a delegation in our premises which they refused," it said on Twitter.

Sudan has been rocked by a deadly crackdown against protests calling for civilian rule since an October 25 military coup led by general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

The country's latest military takeover derailed a power-sharing transition between the army and civilians that had been painstakingly negotiated after the 2019 ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

- 'Reverse the coup' -

The ruling Sovereign Council -- formed by Burhan after the coup with himself as chairman -- has welcomed the UN-led dialogue, as have the United States, Britain, neighbouring Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

The Forces for Freedom and Change, Sudan's main civilian bloc, has also said it would join consultations "to restore the democratic transition".

In a Wednesday press conference, FFC leader Omar al-Degeir called on the international community to stand by "the Sudanese people to achieve its demands to reverse the coup."

Stephanie Khoury, UNITAMS director of political affairs, said earlier: "Our role at this stage of consultations for a political process for #Sudan is to hear Sudanese stakeholders; ensure we actively listen to their views, document their visions & suggestions."

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An 18-year-old protester died on Wednesday after suffering a bullet wound to the head during protests last month, according to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors.

His death brought the number of people killed in the crackdown on anti-coup demonstrations to 77, including others who were also shot in the head, it said.

Sudan's authorities have repeatedly denied using live ammunition against demonstrators, and insist scores of security personnel have been wounded during the protests.

A police general was stabbed to death during the unrest this month.

In the city of Wad Madani, south of Khartoum, sport clubs said they had suspended all activities until further notice "in tribute to the martyrs killed". Shops and stores were also largely shuttered and streets were empty, according to witnesses.

On Monday a protester in Wad Madani was among three in the country gunned down by security forces during a protest for civilian rule, the Doctors' Committee said.