Sudanese demand reforms a year after deal with generals

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Sudanese protesters march to the Cabinets headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, Sudan, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. The protesters returned to the streets Monday to pressure transitional authorities for more reforms, a year after a power-sharing deal between the pro-democracy movement and the generals. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

CAIRO – Sudanese protesters returned to the streets Monday to call for more reforms a year after a power-sharing deal between the pro-democracy movement and the generals.

Sudan is on a fragile path to democracy after a popular uprising led the military to overthrow former autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. A military-civilian government now rules the country, with elections possible in late 2022.

The demonstrations were organized by local groups linked to the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which spearheaded the uprising against al-Bashir.

The crowds, waving Sudanese flags, gathered outside the Cabinet’s headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, to hand over a list of demands, including the formation of a legislative body.

Police later dispersed the protesters, and footage circulating online showed demonstrators running away from tear gas.

The Sudan Doctors’ Committee, which is part of the protest movement, said police also used batons and fired rubber bullets to disperse the protesters. It said at least four people were wounded and that others suffered breathing difficulties because of the tear gas.

Organizers said the protesters were furious after Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok sent an aide to meet with them instead of coming out in person.

Khartoum Gov. Ayman Khalid acknowledged that police used “excessive force” against the protesters. He said in a statement that authorities ordered the release of all protesters detained in Monday’s demonstrations. He did not say how many people were detained.