With security forces reportedly firing tear gas at protesters and signs that there may be division between the army and security forces in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, over how to deal with ongoing demonstrations, the UN chief on Monday called on “all actors to exercise utmost restraint and avoid violence.”
Demonstrations against the 30-year rule of President Omar al-Bashir began in December, and thousands marched and rallied outside the headquarters of the Sudanese army in the capital on Saturday and Sunday, according to news reports.
There were reports of dozens of other protests around the country, and eye witnesses told news outlets that some soldiers, had moved to protect peaceful demonstrators on Sunday night, when other units under the direct command of the president, had begun using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the sit-in. Reports suggest that at least six protesters were killed on Saturday in the capital, when crowds began to march.
They are calling for an end to the rule of President Bashir, amidst an economic crisis that has seen prices of fuel and basic goods such as bread, rise sharply, and a fall in the standard of living affecting many middle-class Sudanese.
In a statement issued by his Spokesperson online, Mr. Guterres said he was following the demonstrations closely, and called on the Government to show “full respect for human rights, including the freedom of assembly, the freedom of expression, and the release of detained protestors.”
He said Sudan’s leadership needed to “create a conducive environment for a solution to the current situation and to promote an inclusive dialogue.”
He added that the UN stood ready to support “any efforts agreed by the Sudanese to peacefully resolve the current crisis.”