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Sudan: Military deployed in Khartoum ahead of protest

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Sudan

Sudanese soldiers have been deployed on the streets of the country’s capital Khartoum ahead of planned pro-democracy protests three weeks after top general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan ousted the government, detained the civilian leadership and declared a state of emergency.

The intended demonstration follows last Saturdays anti-coup protests demonstration which claimed at least 5 lives

Sudanese security forces fired tear gas canisters on Wednesday at demonstrators marching by in Khartoum against the military coup, braving a crackdown that has already left 24 people dead and communications now completely cut off.

Since the October 25 coup, activists have learned to mobilize via SMS rather than social networks. But since Wednesday at midday, all forms of mobile communications have been halted.

According to a pro-democracy doctors' union, the security forces, who killed 24 people and wounded hundreds more, even went so far as to arrest doctors and wounded in hospitals in the capital.

While no political solution seems to be in sight after the coup which has brought to a halt a transition that has been struggling for months, Washington has sent an envoy.

Molly Phee, Deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs, has been shuttling between civilians -- such as Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, who is still under house arrest -- and the military, in particular General Burhane, in an attempt to relaunch the democratic transition in Sudan, which is due to emerge in 2019 from a quasi-continuous military dictatorship since independence in 1956.

But the army chief seems to have no intention of turning back: he recently reappointed himself as the head of the highest institution of the transition, the Sovereignty Council. And he has reappointed all of its military or pro-army members, replacing only four members who support full civilian rule with other, non-political civilians.

"No to military power" and "The people have chosen civilians", responded the demonstrators in the street on Wednesday, who reviled General Burhane, accused of being a supporter of the former regime, an alliance between the military and Islamists in power for 30 years.

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