Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan on Sunday to call for civilian rule, nearly three months after the army forced out long-ruling autocrat Omar al-Bashir. The demonstrations came during a weekslong standoff between the ruling military council and protest leaders, the AP reports. Video clips showed protesters running away from security forces in the streets of Khartoum and seeking shelter from clouds of tear gas. Talks between the two sides over a power-sharing agreement collapsed earlier this month when security forces violently broke up a protest camp in Khartoum. The ensuing clampdown killed at least 128 people cross the county, according to protest organizers. Authorities say the toll was 61, including three security forces.
The marches, the first since the June 3 crackdown, also mark the 30th anniversary of the Islamist-backed coup that brought al-Bashir to power in 1989, toppling Sudan's last elected government. The military removed al-Bashir in April amid mass protests. On Sunday, the crowds gathered at several points across the capital and its sister city of Omdurman before marching toward the homes of those killed since the uprising began. "This is a very important day for the Sudanese people," one protester said. The movement erupted in December, triggered by an economic crisis. The protesters remained in the streets after al-Bashir was overthrown and jailed, fearing that the military would cling to power or preserve much of his regime. On Sunday, protesters chanted anti-military slogans like "Burhan's council, just fall," according to video clips circulated online. Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan is head of the military council.
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