At least 118 people have been killed while demanding a return to civilian rule, which is a condition set by Western governments to resume crucial aid, currently halted as a result of the military coup.

Cut off from such aid, Sudan – already one of the world's poorest countries – has plunged into a worsening economic crisis.
Cut off from such aid, Sudan – already one of the world's poorest countries – has plunged into a worsening economic crisis. (AFP Archive)

Sudan has blocked internet access nationwide as activists marked the first anniversary of a coup that derailed the transition to civilian rule, with hunger and inflation throttling the country.

Waving Sudanese flags, protesters on Tuesday defied authorities who have launched repeated deadly crackdowns on past rallies, chanting "power to the people" and demanding that "soldiers go back to the barracks".

A year ago to the day, army chief Abdel Fattah al Burhan seized power and arrested the civilian leaders with whom he had agreed to share power in 2019, when mass protests compelled the army to depose one of its own, long-time ruler Omar al Bashir.

As demonstrations gathered across the northeast African country on Tuesday, authorities launched a "nation-scale internet disruption," online monitor NetBlocks said, a regular tactic when mass protests are planned.

In Atbara, north of the capital Khartoum, hundreds of students on Tuesday took to the streets, resident Adel Mohamed said.

Ahead of planned rallies on Tuesday, protesters insisted that "the revolution continues", and called for the creation of "a politically and economically-free Sudan, a civil democratic Sudan."

READ MORE: Sudan 'close' to a national consensus: army chief

Near-weekly protests

The authorities in Khartoum ordered all public institutions, schools, and businesses shut on Tuesday, as security forces deployed heavily throughout the city, blocking roads and bridges.

For a year, near-weekly anti-coup protests have been met with force, most recently on Sunday when a protester was killed by a bullet fired by security forces, according to pro-democracy medics.

At least 118 people have been killed while demanding a return to civilian rule, a condition for Western governments to resume crucial aid they had halted in response to the coup.

Cut off from such aid, Sudan -– already one of the world's poorest countries –- has plunged into a worsening economic crisis.

Between three-digit inflation and chronic food shortages, a third of Sudan's 45 million inhabitants suffer from hunger, a 50 percent increase compared to 2021, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).

The cost of food staples has jumped 137 percent in one year, which WFP says has forced Sudanese to spend "more than two-thirds of their income on food alone, leaving little m oney to cover other needs".

Many worry that three years after the 2019 uprising that toppled Bashir, signs point to a reversal of their revolution.

On Friday, 31 protesters were injured, including three who were hit in the eye by tear gas canisters, according to pro-democracy medics.

Western embassies on Monday urged security forces "to refrain from using violence against protesters and to fulfil their obligation to protect freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly".

Sudan has enjoyed only brief spells of democratic rule over the decades.

READ MORE: Sudan army agrees to let civilians appoint top leaders

Source: AFP