KHARTOUM, Sudan — Paramilitary troops surrounded the sit-in protest site that had been the heart of a pro-democracy uprising in Sudan’s capital Tuesday, a day after an explosion of violence thrust the country’s political future into even greater turmoil.
The paramilitary group, known as the Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, patrolled Khartoum’s streets, putting the city on lockdown and setting up dozens of checkpoints. The RSF dismantled the sit-in site Monday in an attack that killed at least 35, according to Sudan Doctors Syndicate, a professional group associated with the protests.
The syndicate later said that dozens more were killed in subsequent violence, including in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman and in Sudan’s White Nile state, raising the total to 60 dead by Wednesday with hundreds of injured.
The United States, which lists Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, issued forceful denunciations of the violence Tuesday. John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, called the attack “abhorrent,” but neither he nor Tibor Nagy, the assistant secretary of state for Africa, said they would stop speaking with the transitional military council.
“This was a brutal and coordinated attack, led by the Rapid Support Forces militia, that mirrors some of the worst offenses of the Bashir regime,” Nagy said, referring to former president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who was ousted in April.
Pockets of defiant protesters gathered at mosques Tuesday, turning their prayers for the Eid al-Fitr holiday into calls for sustained civil disobedience, according to local news agencies. Sporadic gunfire could still be heard throughout Khartoum and its suburbs.
Across the city, the wounded recuperated in homes and hospitals, recounting the suddenness of Monday’s attack and the fragility of their nonviolent movement in the face of a well-armed adversary.