The U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights has condemned the military crackdown on Sudanese protesters, a day after security forces killed 15 people in demonstrations against the country's October 25 military coup.
Wednesday was the deadliest day of violence since the takeover and increased the death toll during the recent pro-democracy protests to 39.
Witnesses said the security forces dispersed protests in Khartoum and other cities using live ammunition and tear gas.
The U.N.’s Michelle Bachelet said in a statement Thursday that her office has repeatedly asked the country’s security forces and military “refrain from the use of unnecessary and disproportionate against demonstrators.”
“Shooting into large crowds of unarmed demonstrators, leaving dozens dead and may more injured, is deplorable, clearly aimed at stifling the expression of public dissent, and amounts to gross violations of international human rights law,” Bachelet said.
The U.N., citing reliable medical sources, said more than 100 demonstrators were wounded in Wednesday’s protests, including 80 who were shot in their upper bodies and heads.
Police said 89 officers sustained injuries.
Reporting from Khartoum for VOA's South Sudan in Focus, Michael Atit said hospitals struggled to deal with scores of wounded people.
Because authorities cut telecommunications ahead of the protests, the administration of Al Dauli Hospital sought help from mosques to call for doctors and nurses to come help save lives, said Waliddeen Al Fekki, a member of the executive board of the Sudanese Doctors Association,
"They used the microphone of the mosque," Al Fekki said.
A group of neighborhood resistance committees coordinating the protest movement in east Khartoum announced Thursday in a statement that there will be an “open escalation” against the ruling junta until its overthrow.
“Now we are making consultations among the resistance committees about upping the escalation against the coup,” a senior member of the committees in the capital told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Protesters described the behavior of police on Wednesday as more aggressive than in the past, the latest sign that the military is looking to entrench its position. The military has said peaceful protests are allowed.
The protests were the latest marches held by Sudan’s pro-democracy movement since a joint civilian-military government was ousted in the military takeover.
The coup occurred after weeks of escalating tensions between military and civilian leaders over Sudan’s transition to democracy.
Sudan’s Army Chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said he dissolved the joint civilian-military council and the government due to "political quarrels that were threatening the security of the country.
The coup has threatened to derail the process that began after the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in a 2019 popular uprising.
VOA’s English to Africa Service contributed to this report. Some information in this report came from the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.