Where just weeks ago the scent of freedom was in the air, there came the smell of smoke and cordite. The sounds of jubilant song gave way to those of automatic gunfire and the screams of the dying. In the early hours of June 3rd Sudan’s armed forces moved against pro-democracy protesters who had been holding a sit-in since April outside the army’s headquarters in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. They shot and killed more than 100 people, including some children. All that remains of the carnival of democracy that had sprouted there are burnt tents and rubbish.
It was the worst violence since demonstrations toppled Sudan’s brutal dictator, Omar al-Bashir, in April. It was also the most gruesome. People were whipped, raped and robbed. Bodies were slung into the Nile. Doctors treating the wounded were beaten and shot. In Omdurman, across the river, rescuers fished out the bodies of people who had been hurled, screaming, off a bridge.