Military bows to pressure, returns Hamdok as PM in Sudan

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Sudan’s military reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Sunday and promised to release all political detainees after weeks of deadly unrest triggered by a coup, though large crowds took to the streets to reject any deal involving the army.

Under an agreement signed with military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Hamdok, first appointed after the overthrow of autocrat Omar al-Bashir in a 2019 uprising, will lead a civilian government of technocrats for a transitional period.

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The deal faces opposition from pro-democracy groups that have demanded full civilian rule ever since Bashir was ousted and have been angered by the deaths of dozens protesters in the weeks following the Oct. 25 coup.

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A hero for the protest movement, Hamdok quickly became the villain for some.

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“Hamdok has sold the revolution,” protesters chanted after the deal was announced. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), a leading protest group, called it “treacherous”.

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Tens of thousands of people joined scheduled rallies in the capital Khartoum and its twin cities of Omdurman and Bahri. Security forces fired bullets and tear gas to disperse them, witnesses said. A 16-year-old protester in Omdurman died from a bullet wound, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said.

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“Hamdok has disappointed us. Our only option is the street,” said Omar Ibrahim, a 26-year-old protester in Khartoum.

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The coup triggered mass demonstrations against the military and medics aligned with the protest movement say security forces have killed 41 civilians in increasingly violent crackdowns. Hamdok said he had agreed to the deal to prevent more casualties.

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