- Associated Press - Thursday, February 20, 2020

CAIRO (AP) - Sudanese pro-democracy activists said the country’s security forces fired tear gas Thursday at hundreds of protesters in the capital Khartoum.

Sudan’s Professionals Association, the group that spearheaded last year’s uprising that led to the overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir, had called for a rally to protest the recent layoff of military officers and soldiers. The group said they were supportive of Sudan’s pro-democracy movement.

The group posted on its official Facebook page pictures of protesters wearing masks and others being rescued. Videos showing protesters running in side streets were circulated online. The sound of what appears to be tear gas firing can be heard in one of the videos.

The Sudan’s Doctors Committee, a group associated with protesters, said in a statement one protester was shot in the abdomen with live ammunition, while another received a rubber bullet in the leg.

Others were wounded as security forces were throwing tear gas canisters at the rally and beating protesters with batons, the doctors group said. The statement did not provide a precise number of wounded.

On Tuesday, Sudan’s armed forces released a list of names of the troops that were discharged, amid domestic and international calls to overhaul the country’s security apparatus and purge the military from all remnants of Bashir’s regime.

However, the list elicited a stir among many pro-democracy activists who said the army was in fact getting rid of junior officers who were known for having sided with protesters. Activists said those dismissed had protected prolonged sit-ins that were eventually violently dispersed by the military, leaving more than a hundred dead. The group said the layoffs attested to “a regression from the slogans of the revolution.”

Since August, a military-civilian sovereign council has been ruling Sudan and overseeing its transition to a potentially democratic rule. However, many political leaders have complained the military still wields control over the government.

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