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At least 2 killed as Sudan military attempts to break up sit-in outside Khartoum army HQ

Members of Sudan's alliance of opposition and protest groups chant slogans outside Sudan's central bank during the second day of strike as tensions mounted with the country's military rulers over the transition to democracy in Khartoum, Sudan. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Khartoum, Sudan Jun 03, 2019, 12.16 PM (IST)

At least two people were killed on Monday as Sudan's military council tried to break up a sit-in outside Khartoum's army headquarters, a doctors' committee said as gunfire was heard from the protest site.

"Two peaceful protesters were killed by live bullets fired at the orders of the Transitional Military Council," the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said on Twitter without giving further details.

Gunfire was heard from the protest site by an AFP journalist, who reported a heavy deployment of security forces around the streets of the capital.

There were multiple reports of the military using force to disperse the sit-in in front of army headquarters, where protesters have been camped out for weeks.

"Now an attempt is taking place to disperse the sit-in at the headquarters of the people's armed forces by force by the military council," said the Sudanese Professionals Association, the group which spearheaded nationwide protests that started in December.

Rallies against the authoritarian rule of Omar al-Bashir led to his ouster in April, but demonstrators have remained to call on the generals to cede power to a transitional authority.

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." 

Another resident of the area, in east Khartoum, said he had seen forces in "police uniform" trying to expel the demonstrators.

Britain's ambassador to Khartoum, Irfan Siddiq, said he had heard "heavy gunfire" from his residence.

"Extremely concerned by... reports that Sudanese security forces are attacking the protest sit-in site resulting in casualties. No excuse for any such attack. This. Must. Stop. Now," he wrote on Twitter.

The SPA said it amounted to a "bloody massacre", and called on Sudanese to take part in "total civil disobedience" to topple the military council and for people for take to the streets to protest.

Demonstrators had closed off Street 60, one of the main streets in the capital with stone barricades and burning tree trunks and tires, an AFP journalist said.

The SPA had said on Saturday that it had reason to believe the military council was "planning and working to end the peaceful sit-in at the headquarters with excessive force and violence" after three people were killed in incidents on the fringes of the sit-in last week.

Negotiations between protest leaders and the ruling military council have broken down, as the two sides have failed to agree on whether a planned transitional body would be headed by a civilian or a military figure.

Story highlights

There were multiple reports of the military using force to disperse the sit-in in front of army headquarters, where protesters have been camped out for weeks.