Thousands of Sudanese protested against last month's coup in Khartoum and other cities on Wednesday, with security forces shooting dead at least 15 people and wounding dozens, medics said.
The protesters marched in scattered neighborhoods across Khartoum and its twin cities of Bahri and Omdurman as security forces fired live bullets and tear gas after mobile phone communications were cut earlier in the day, witnesses said.
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"The coup forces used live bullets heavily in different areas of the capital and there are tens of gunshot injuries, some of them in serious condition," said the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, a group of medics aligned with the protest movement. It reported four deaths in Bahri and one in Omdurman.
The protesters, organized by local "resistance committees", are calling for a full handover to civilian authorities and for the leaders of the October 25 coup to be tried in court.
On one main road in Khartoum, protesters burned tires and chanted: "The people are stronger, and retreat is impossible."
Others carried pictures of people killed in previous protests and of Abdalla Hamdok, the civilian prime minister who was placed under house arrest during the coup, with the slogan: "Legitimacy comes from the street, not from the cannons."
Images of protests in towns and cities including Port Sudan, Kassala, Dongola, Wad Madani and Geneina were posted on social media.
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Security forces were heavily deployed on main roads and intersections, using tear gas to prevent gatherings, witnesses said. Bridges across the River Nile were closed.
There was no immediate comment from security forces. Military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has previously said peaceful protests are allowed and that the military does not kill protesters.
Heavy tear gas
"The main meeting points were completely occupied by security forces," said one demonstrator in Bahri. The demonstrator, who asked not to be identified, said the air was thick with tear gas, and that security forces were using rubber and live bullets.
A resistance committee member said protesters aimed to wear down security forces by meeting in scattered locations, constructing barriers and regrouping after being dispersed.
"The coup forces are practicing excessive repression and are encircling the revolutionaries' marches in several areas," said the Sudanese Professionals Association, which has helped promote the protests.
"This was preceded by the deliberate interruption of voice and internet communications services."
Mobile internet services in Sudan have been suspended since the coup. This has complicated a campaign of anti-military rallies, strikes and civil disobedience.
The coup ended a transitional partnership between the military and a civilian coalition that helped topple autocrat Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
The Sudanese Congress Party, which was part of that coalition, said one of its leaders had been arrested following a raid on his house.
Despite pressure from Western states which have suspended economic assistance, efforts at mediation have stalled, with Burhan moving to cement control with help from Bashir-era veterans.
On Saturday, hundreds of thousands turned out across Sudan to protest against the coup. Medics reported that seven people were killed as security forces moved to disperse the demonstrators.