Police disperse Sudan pro-army rally outside PM's office

Khartoum (AFP) –


Police fired teargas Monday at pro-army protesters in Sudan's capital Khartoum outside the office of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, AFP journalists said, on the third day of anti-government demonstrations.

"Riot police repelled an attempted assault on the seat of government," Khartoum state authorities said in a statement.

Hamdok, who gathered his cabinet for an "urgent" meeting, has called recent unrest the "worst and most dangerous crisis" of the country's precarious two-year transition since the fall of hardline ruler Omar al-Bashir.

Before police intervened, the pro-military protesters cried shouted "down with Hamdok!".

The protesters demand the dissolution of Sudan's post-dictatorship interim government, which is mired in both political and economic crises.

"The civilian government has failed," said Tahar Fadl al-Mawla, a 52-year-old tribal elder, speaking at a tent erected at the gates of the presidential palace.

"We want a government of soldiers to protect the transition," he added.

A column of protesters marched from there to shout slogans outside Hamdok's office, also in central Khartoum, but left after police broke up the rally there.

The protests come as Sudanese politics reels from divisions among the factions steering the rocky transition since the fall of Bashir, who was ousted by the army in April 2019 in the face of mass protests.

Critics allege the protests are being driven by members of the military and security forces, and involve counter-revolutionary sympathisers with the former regime.

Sudan is run by a Sovereign Council, a military-civilian body that oversees the transition until elections slated for 2023, with the government led by Hamdok, a former UN economist.

The main civilian faction has called for a counter-protest on Thursday.