Scores protest in Sudan's Omdurman after shootings: witnesses

Omdurman (Sudan) (AFP) –


Scores of Sudanese protesters blocked roads with burning tyres in Khartoum's twin city Omdurman Tuesday for the first time in a month after six people were killed in the capital.

An army major and five protesters were shot dead at a long-running sit outside army headquarters in the capital on Monday, the ruling military council and a doctors' committee linked to the protest movement said, just hours after the rival sides announced a breakthrough in negotiations.

Protesters gathered in the Abbassiya and Al-Arbaa districts of Omdurman, just across the Nile from Khartoum, with many chanting slogans against the military council, witnesses told AFP.

"Protect your homeland or prepare to die!" the protesters chanted.

In Arbaa, some blocked roads with burning tyres, a witness said, adding that troops deployed to the area.

Omdurman had seen near daily demonstrations during the four months of nationwide protests that led to the overthrow of veteran president Omar al-Bashir on April 11.

But in the month since then, the protests had previously focused almost entirely on the sit-in outside army headquarters as protest leaders wrestled with the generals who toppled Bashir over a roadmap for a civilian-led transition.

The deadly violence in and around the sit-in broke out just hours after the two sides announced they had reached agreement on the structure and powers of the institutions that will oversee the transition.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change -- the protest movement umbrella group that has been negotiating with the military council -- said the shootings were an attempt to "disturb the breakthrough" and blamed militias still loyal to the former regime.

The military council said that it had "noticed some armed infiltrators among the protesters" at the sit-in, but did not specify who they were.

Britain's ambassador to Sudan, Irfan Siddiq, said he was "appalled by the killings and injuries on the streets of Khartoum last night".

"Last night?s violence also makes clear why agreement on a civilian-led transition is so urgent. The ongoing uncertainty creates risks of further instability,? he wrote on Twitter.