Sudan’s leading pro-democracy groups had called for nationwide protest on Thursday to reiterate their demands for a reversal of the October 25 military coup.
Four Sudanese demonstrators have been killed with thousands of anti-coup protesters taking to the streets demanding an end to military rule, according to pro-democracy medics.
"Even if we die, the military will not rule us," protesters chanted on Thursday, urging the reversal of an October military coup by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan that prompted foreign governments to slash aid, deepening an economic crisis.
Security forces were reported to have fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse demonstrations, the latest crackdown on the anti-coup movement over the past eight months.
All of Thursday's victims died in the city of Omdurman, across the Nile River from the capital Khartoum, pro-democracy medics said, bringing the death toll from protest-related violence to 105.
The medics had previously reported one demonstrator was shot dead on Wednesday during small-scale protests in the run-up to the main rallies.
Internet and phone lines had been disrupted since the early hours of Thursday, a measure authorities often impose to prevent mass gatherings, according to media reports.
Internet services are cut in Sudan's capital Khartoum ahead of pro-democracy protests – Reuters— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) June 30, 2022
Police cordon, tight security
Security was tight in Khartoum despite the recent lifting of a state of emergency imposed after the coup.
Troops and police blocked off roads leading to both army headquarters and the presidential palace, witnesses said. Shops around the capital were largely shuttered.
UN special representative Volker Perthes said on Thursday that "violence needs to end", while the US embassy in Khartoum urged restraint and "the protection of civilians so that no more lives are lost".
Sudan's foreign ministry has repeatedly criticised the UN envoy's comments, saying they were built on "assumptions" and "contradict his role as facilitator" in troubled talks on ending Sudan's political crisis.
The latest protests come on the anniversary of a previous coup in 1989, which toppled the country's last elected civilian government and ushered in three decades of rule by general Omar al-Bashir.
They also come on the anniversary of 2019 protests demanding that the generals, who had ousted Bashir in a palace coup earlier that year, cede power to civilians.
Those protests led to the formation of the mixed civilian-military transitional government which was toppled in last year's coup.
Sudan has been roiled by near-weekly protests as the country's economic woes have deepened since Burhan seized power last year.
"June 30 is our way to bring down the coup and block the path of any fake alternatives," said the Forces for Freedom and Change, an alliance of civilian groups whose leaders were ousted in the coup.