Connect with us

World

Protesters face tear gas and bullets to oppose Sudan coup

Published

on

November 13, 2021

KHARTOUM (Reuters) -Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in the Sudanese capital Khartoum and other cities on Saturday to protest against a military takeover, despite security forces firing tear gas and bullets to disperse them, witnesses and medics said.

One protester was killed by live fire from security forces in Omdurman, across the Nile from central Khartoum, and many others were wounded, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said.

The demonstrations come two days after military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan announced the formation of a new ruling council that excludes the civilian coalition the military had been sharing power with since 2019.

Advertisement

Sudanese pro-democracy groups condemned the move and vowed to continue their campaign of civil disobedience and protests against the Oct. 25 coup.

Security forces closed bridges on Saturday between central Khartoum and its twin cities of Omdurman and Khartoum North to vehicles and pedestrians, laying barbed wire to block access. Roads to strategic sites were also shut.

As protesters began to gather in the early afternoon around the capital, security forces moved quickly to try to disperse them, firing tear gas and chasing demonstrators down side streets to try to prevent them reaching central meeting points, witnesses said.

“People were surprised that they fired the tear gas so early,” said one protester in Omdurman. Protesters “retreated into the neighbourhood and barricaded the streets and now they’re coming back to the main road.”

Witnesses estimated the number of protesters around Khartoum to be in the tens of thousands.

Advertisement

During previous rallies, including on Oct. 30 when hundreds of thousands turned out, security forces had waited until later in the day before trying to disperse protesters.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, which is aligned with the protest movement, said demonstrations were “facing excessive repression using all forms of force including live bullets in several areas of the capital Khartoum”.

There was no immediate comment from security forces, but Burhan has previously said peaceful protests are allowed and the military does not kill protesters.

In Wad Madani, south-east of Khartoum, large crowds gathered, chanting slogans including: “Down, down with military rule,” a witness told Reuters. There were also protests in Kassala in eastern Sudan and Atbara to the north, witnesses said, among other cities.

The military takeover upended a transition towards democracy that began after the uprising that toppled autocrat Omar al-Bashir in April 2019. Security forces detained senior officials appointed under a power-sharing arrangement between the military and civilian groups and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was placed under house arrest.

Advertisement

On Saturday, protesters carried pictures of Hamdok, now a symbol of resistance to military rule, while chanting against Burhan and his deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

INTERNET CUT

Mobile internet services have remained cut in Sudan since the coup, despite a court order to restore them, and phone coverage has been disrupted, complicating efforts by the protest movement.

However, local resistance committees energised by the nomination of the new ruling council used flyers and organised smaller neighbourhood protests in recent days.

“We reject any mediation or settlement with the coup leaders and will continue our struggle until we bring down the coup and bring the criminals to trial,” they said in a statement.

Advertisement

Volker Perthes, the United Nations envoy to Sudan, called on security forces to show restraint and to respect the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression ahead of Saturday’s rallies.

Despite widespread opposition from political groups in Sudan and pressure from Western powers that backed the transition, Burhan has pushed to consolidate the military’s position https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/sudans-military-rulers-draw-bashir-era-veterans-tighten-grip-2021-11-11. Burhan said the army moved to prevent unrest, accusing civilian groups of inciting opposition to the military.

Western states and the World Bank have suspended economic assistance designed to help pull Sudan out of decades of isolation and a deep economic crisis.

The United States and other Western powers expressed grave concern at Burhan’s appointment of the ruling Sovereign Council.

“The U.S. and partners call on Sudan’s military leaders to refrain from further unilateral actions that will set back Sudan’s hard-won progress to rejoin the international community,” U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Twitter.

Advertisement

(Reporting by Khartoum bureau, Khalid Abdelaziz and Nafisa EltahirWriting by Aidan Lewis Editing by Mike Harrison and Mark Potter)

Continue Reading
Advertisement

World

Germany’s Free Democrats back coalition agreement

Published

on

December 5, 2021

BERLIN (Reuters) – Members of Germany’s pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) voted on Sunday by a large majority to back a coalition agreement with the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens, paving the way for the three-way alliance to form a new government next week.

The coalition, the first at federal level between the environmentalist Greens, the FDP and Olaf Scholz’s centre-left SPD, will end 16 years of conservative governments led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The SPD approved the agreement on Saturday and the Greens are due to announce the outcome of a member survey on the deal on Monday. The three parties hope the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, will vote Scholz in as chancellor on Wednesday.

Advertisement

The “traffic light” alliance, named after the parties’respective colours, will usher in a new era of relations with Europe, and plans to speed up digitalisation of the continent’sbiggest economy and put a focus on fighting climate change.

(Reporting by Alexander Ratz; Writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Continue Reading

World

Gambian President Barrow on course for resounding election win

Published

on

December 5, 2021

By Bate Felix

BANJUL (Reuters) – Gambia’s incumbent president, Adama Barrow, was on course for a resounding election win on Sunday, partial results indicated, that could help to draw a line under recent political turmoil.

Saturday’s vote was the first in 27 years without disgraced former president Yahya Jammeh, who lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea after refusing to accept defeat to Barrow in 2016.

Advertisement

Jammeh, whose 22-year rule over the tiny nation of 2.5 million people was characterised by killings and torture of political opponents, had tried to persuade supporters to vote for an opposition coalition in telephoned speeches that were relayed to campaign rallies.

But his lingering influence was not enough to dent Barrow’s showing. The president, who only needs to win more votes than the second-placed candidate, won 36 of the first 41 constituencies announced, taking 315,547 votes.

His nearest rival, political veteran Ousainou Darboe, had 133,177 votes, with four other candidates far behind.

Only 12 constituencies remained to be announced.

The election was seen as a test of Gambia’s democratic progress and its ability to leave the Jammeh era behind.

Advertisement

Barrow’s first term was marked by the coronavirus pandemic, which damaged an economy that relies heavily on tourism, as well as exports of peanuts and fish.

(Writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Continue Reading

World

S.Africans protest against Shell oil exploration in pristine coastal area

Published

on

December 5, 2021

By Siyabonga Sishi

PORT EDWARD, South Africa (Reuters) – South Africans took to their beaches on Sunday to protest against plans by Royal Dutch Shell to do seimsic oil exploration they say will threaten marine wildlife such as whales, dolphins, seals and penguins on a pristine coastal stretch.

A South African court on Friday struck down https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/shell-wins-court-case-start-seismic-surveys-offshore-south-africa-2021-12-03 an application brought by environmentalists to stop the oil major exploring in the eastern seaboard’s Wild Coast, rejecting as unproven their argument that it would cause “irreparable harm” to the marine environment, especially migrating hump-back whales.

Advertisement

The Wild Coast is home of some of the country’s most undisturbed wildlife refuges, and it’s stunning coastal wildernesses are also a major tourist draw.

At least 1,000 demonstrators gathered on a beach near Port Edward, a Reuters TV correspondent saw.

“It’s just absolutely horrendous that they are even considering this. Look around you?” said demonstrator Kas Wilson, indicating an unspoilt stretch of beach. “It’s unacceptable and … we will stop it.”

Shell officials were not immediately available for comment, but the company said on Friday that its planned exploration has regulatory approval, and it will significantly contribute to South Africa’s energy security if resources are found.

But local people fear the seismic blasting conducted over 6,000 square kilometres will kill or scare away the fish they depend on to live.

Advertisement

“I don’t want them to operate here because if they do we won’t be able to catch fish,” said 62-year-old free dive fisherwoman Toloza Mzobe, after pulling a wild lobster from the ground. “What are we going to eat?”

Environmentalists are urging Shell and other oil companies to stop prospecting for oil, arguing that the world has no chance of reaching net zero carbon by 2050 if existing oil deposits are burned, let alone if new ones are found.

Earlier this year, a Dutch court ordered Shell to reduce its planet warming carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels, a decision it plans to appeal.

South Africa’s environment ministry referred Reuters to a statement late last month that “the Minister responsible for environmental affairs is … not mandated to consider the application or to make a decision on the authorisation of the seismic survey.”

(Writing by Tim Cocks;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending