Sudan protest crackdown


In the early hours of the 25th of October 2021, a military coup led by General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan began to unfold, prime minister Abdallah Hamdok was placed on house arrest and several key civilian government officials were arrested and a nationwide communications outage was reported. Left with uncertainty, the people turned to their televisions and radios searching for answers and soon after an address by Al-Burhan announcing the dissolution of the government and sovereignty council and a state of emergency was broadcasted. 

The Sudanese people flooded the streets protesting the coup and many pro-democracy coalitions like the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) and the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) called for a nationwide civil disobedience. Later throughout the day protestors set up roadblocks and lit car tires on fire while marching and revolutionary chants were heard for miles. Armed with live ammunition and tear gas the military forces violently dispersed the masses leaving 7 protestors killed while 140 were injured. Months later the calls for Freedom, Peace, and Justice shows no sign of slowing down despite the military government forces’ increasing violence against peaceful civilians. Immediate International and regional reactions condemned the coup and rejected the actions of the military leaders and called for the immediate release of prime minister Abdallah Hamdok, who was later reinstated, and members of his civilian government but failed to have an impact on the violent crackdowns. 

These violations are committed by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Rapid Support Forces (RSF), anti riot police, and many units dressed in civilian wear who continue their violent crackdown on protests, human rights activists, medical workers, journalists, and opposition  members. The events that transpired in the following months held increasing violence and bloodshed and the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors confirms the death toll at 82 unlawful killings with thousands of injuries and arbitrary arrests as of the 20th of February 2022.

Timeline: Protests and Crackdown

  • October 25th – December 2021: The pro-democracy protests following the coup were immediately met by violent crackdowns on peaceful protestors. Massive arrests campaigns and excessive force to suppress the protests continued through the closing days of October. By October 31st 2021, the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors announced the death toll at 12 while hundreds were injured. Civil disobedience and protests continued while the internet outage remained through the first half of November. On November 17th, the bloodiest day since the coup, at least 15 protestors were killed bringing the death toll to at least 39 with hundreds more injured. Violence against peaceful protestors continued to escalate through the end of the year, military forces used live ammunition, fired tear gas canisters at hospitals, and attacked medical personnel and injured civilians preventing their access to medical care. At the end of 2021, 53 protesters were killed and hundreds more were injured by Central Committee of Sudan Doctors estimates.
  • January – February 20 2022: The anti coup protests showed no signs of slowing down with the new year as military government forces continued to violate the protestors’ right to protest.  These forces used live ammunition, rubber bullets, tear gas, sound grenades, and ran over protestors with armored vehicles to disperse the protests. They continue their violent attacks on hospitals depriving citizens from access to medical care while arrests and torture of protestors, human rights activists, and resistance committee members continue. As of the 20th of February 2022 the death toll stands at 82 unlawful killings with over 3000 injured based on the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors estimates.

“The forces started shooting, Marwan and Yaseen held their heads up and immediately got shot. They got hit and Marwan shook his head as he fell to the ground.. Yassin got shot in the neck and passed away at the time” said a friend of the victims. “They were bleeding and in a difficult condition. We tried to carry them but the forces kept firing at us to prevent us from getting to them. We kept dragging them by their feet while they shot at us.. we carried them and ran to a house once they stopped shooting and wrapped a cloth around their wounds while waiting for a car. We got in a car heading to a hospital and they chased us, firing at the car but they turned around eventually.”

Sudan’s human rights situation is rapidly deteriorating and the growing practice of human rights violations and the lack of accountability by the ruling military government will bring Sudan back to the pre-transitional phase of human rights abuse. The military government forces continue its violent crackdown on peacefull protestors and commit various crimes such as extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and torture in a clear violation of international humanitarian law and state law. Additionally, the renewed Conflict in Darfur resulted in around 80 deaths and more than 430,000 displacements. Therefore the Sudanese Human Rights Group (Huqooq) holds the military government completely responsible for all violations committed since the 25th of October 2021 coup and urges the International Committees to pressure the junta to adhere to civilian demands and respect human rights.