Africa

Protests mark deadly Sudan crackdown

Demonstrators marked 40 days since a deadly crackdown on a protest camp in Khartoum as the military council and civilian opposition meet ahead of elections.

Tens of thousands have demonstrated in cities across Sudan, witnesses say, to mark 40 days since security forces killed dozens at a protest camp in the capital Khartoum.

Saturday's demonstrations were the first since the ruling military council and civilian opposition agreed in principle to a power-sharing arrangement ahead of elections. The deal has yet to be finalised and signed.

A meeting between the two sides planned for Saturday was postponed to Sunday, a leader of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition told Reuters. But the military council denied the meeting was being delayed.

Some protesters lit candles to remember those killed at the protest camp on June 3, while others lit the torches on their mobile phones.

"We came out to express our opinion and convey our voice and salute the memory of our eternal martyrs," said protester Mostafa Sayed Ahmed.

Security forces used barbed wire to block a main road leading to the Defence Ministry compound, the site of the protest camp crushed by security forces in June, a Reuters witness said.

At least 128 people were killed during the raid and in the two weeks that followed, according to doctors linked to the opposition. The government confirmed at least 61 deaths.

General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, deputy head of the Transitional Military Council and head of the RSF, which controls Khartoum and whose members are accused of violently dispersing the sit-in outside the Defence Ministry, defended the latter's role in maintaining security.

"Rapid Support are not angels, but we prosecute every offender," Dagalo, known by his nickname Hemedti, said in a televised speech. "Were it not for Rapid Support, Khartoum's situation would have been different."

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