Sudanese protesters defiant after army crackdown

Tyres set ablaze by protestors in Khartoum

Sudanese protesters defiant after army crackdown

Sudan's Transitional Military Council (TMC) has called for snap elections and said it had cancelled all previous agreements with the main opposition coalition.

Burhan said elections would be held within nine months.

He went on to call for a "return to negotiations" between the junta and opposition groups organized under the umbrella of the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change (FDFC) as "the quickest way to resolve the problem".

The shift toward iron-fisted repression immediately followed a tour conducted by the head of the TMC, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his deputy, Lt. Gen. Dagalo, of the three countries that have been the main backers of the military regime, which are also Washington's chief allies in the Arab world: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Outside the army headquarters "there is no one, but the pure bodies of our martyrs that it has not been possible to evacuate from the site". The forces are deployed across Khartoum, giving the general much leverage, and is blamed by activists for a series of deadly shootings of protesters over the past two weeks.

The African country is now ruled by a Transitional Military Council (TMC) that took power after President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April. The RSF is led by Lt. Gen. Hamdan Dagalo (popularly known as "Hemeti"), the deputy chair of the country's now ruling junta, the Transitional Military Council (TMC), and widely viewed as an aspiring dictator.

The military, in turn, has threatened to call for an election within a year if the talks remain deadlocked.

"There are clear parallels to some of the Arab Spring protests that eventually progressed to full-blown insurgencies, including Syria, where indiscriminate shelling of civilians by the military initially galvanized protest movements that helped launch a broader uprising", it said in an analysis.

Near the demonstration site, a witness living in the Burri neighbourhood said he could "hear the sound of gunfire and I see a plume of smoke rising from the area of the sit-in".

NPR's Ofeibea reports, "Protesters accuse Sudan's notorious (former) Janjaweed militiamen of using similar tactics on determined demonstrators in Khartoum as they've used in a brutal crackdown on civilians in Darfur in western Sudan".

The UN Security Council was due to discuss Sudan at closed doors meeting called by Britain and Germany yesterday evening.

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in a separate statement that she deplored the "apparent use of excessive force in the protest camps" and called on security forces to "immediately halt such attacks".

Already, the raid by a combined police, army and paramilitary force on the sit-in protest has triggered the kind of response that is virtually certain to plunge Sudan into a new cycle of violence and instability that may not end any time soon as both sides dig in for a prolonged showdown. "The TMC can not responsibly lead the people of Sudan", it added referring to the transitional military council.

"No excuse for any such attack", he wrote on Twitter.

"Responsibility falls on the TMC", read the tweet.

The European Commission's spokesperson stated: "We are following the current developments in Sudan, including today's attacks carried out against civilian protesters".

The US, UK and Norway also raised "serious concern" over the Sudanese military council's decision to stop negotiating with opposition leaders.

The rally leaders urged "peaceful marches and rallies" nationwide and for barricades to be put up including in the capital.

Khartoum was very tense on Tuesday, with many roads barricaded by protesters, shops shut and streets mostly empty.

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