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Sudan’s top general lifts state of emergency from coup

CAIRO (AP) – Sudan’s leading general lifted a state of emergency on Sunday that was imposed in the country following the October coup he led.

The decision by General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, came hours after the Security and Defence Council, Sudan’s highest body that decides on security matters, recommended an end to the state of emergency and the release of all detainees.

The recommendations are meant to facilitate dialogue between the military and the pro-democracy movement, Defence Minister Major General Yassin Ibrahim Yassin said in a video statement.

They come as the country faces protests against military rule and an unknown number of activists and former officials remain in detention.

Earlier on Sunday, the United Nations envoy for Sudan Volker Perthes called for the country’s leaders to lift the state of emergency. He decried the killing of two people in a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters who once again took to the streets of the capital to denounce the October 25 coup.

Protesters clash with security forces as they fire teargas to prevent them from marching towards the presidential palace during demonstrations demanding civilian rule, in Khartoum, Sudan. PHOTO: AP

“Once again: It is time for the violence to stop,” said Perthes on Twitter.

Hundreds of people marched on Saturday in Khartoum, where security forces violently dispersed the crowds and chased them in the streets, according to activists.

The two were killed during protests in Khartoum’s Kalakla neighbourhood. One was shot by security forces and the other suffocated after inhaling tear gas, said the Sudan Doctors Committee, which is part of the pro-democracy movement.

Sudan has been plunged into turmoil since the military takeover upended its transition to democracy after three decades of repressive rule by strongman Omar al-Bashir. Al-Bashir and his government were removed by the military in a popular uprising in April 2019.

Saturday’s protests were part of relentless demonstrations in the past seven months calling for the military to hand over power to civilians.