CAIRO — Sudanese security forces detained three prominent pro-democracy figures overnight, their relatives and other activists said Wednesday, as internal and international pressure mounted on the country’s military following its coup.
The arrests came as protests denouncing Monday’s takeover continued in the capital of Khartoum and elsewhere, and many businesses shut in response to calls for strikes. The coup threatens to halt Sudan’s fitful transition to democracy, which began after the 2019 ouster of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir in a popular uprising.
Groups of protesters — in some places, dozens, in others, hundreds — set up barricades of stones on main roads throughout the day. Security forces waded in, chasing demonstrators and dismantling the barriers.
Some protesters were shot and wounded, activists said, though they did not have exact figures. Security forces confronting demonstrators have killed at least six people since Monday and wounded over 140 others, many in critical condition, according to physicians with the Sudan Doctors’ Committee.
Prominent rights defender Tahani Abbas said the pro-democracy movement would continue street protests despite the crackdown.
“We are frustrated,” she said, “but we have no other option but the street.”
In a nod to deteriorating security conditions, the State Department authorized nonessential personnel and the families of all government employees at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum to leave Sudan “due to civil unrest and possible supply shortages.”
The coup came after weeks of mounting tensions between military and civilian leaders over the course and pace of Sudan’s moves toward democracy.