At least nine people were injured when soldiers stormed a pro-democracy sit-in protest in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, eyewitnesses said, in continuing violence after the ouster of longtime President Omar al-Bashir.
The soldiers in the uniform of the paramilitary Rapid Security Forces overran barricades at the scene of the demonstrations outside army headquarters on Wednesday, eyewitnesses told CNN, adding that gunfire could be heard.
In a Facebook post, the opposition Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said 14 people were wounded, including eight with gunshot wounds.
The Transitional Military Council (TMC), which has held power since Bashir’s arrest last month, said it was suspending talks with the protesters for 72 hours.
Its chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said in a televised statement that discussions would be put on hold until there was an “appropriate climate” for negotiations.
On Thursday, an alliance of opposition group and protest leaders called that decision “regrettable” in a statement.
“We will continue our sit-in at the leadership headquarters and all other sit-in fields across the country. Our peaceful protests will continue until we expose and isolate the forces of anti-revolution” the group’s statement said.
The council and pro-democracy protesters are trying to reach a firm agreement on how long the TMC should hold power.
On Wednesday, the TMC and the opposition announced they had agreed to a transition period of three years, with a final deal expected to be reached within 24 hours.
The first six months will be devoted to signing peace agreements and “halting the war across the country,” according to state news outlet SUNA.
But al-Burhan accused the opposition of breaching an agreement to ease tensions, of “direct provocation and extreme abuse” of the armed forces, and of disrupting life in Khartoum by blocking roads and bridges.
The number of demonstrators has swelled over recent days at the scene of the sit-in, which is just over half a kilometer (around 0.3 miles) from the presidential palace.
On Monday, at a different site, unidentified attackers opened fire on another group of seated demonstrators.
The TMC said a military police officer was killed and a “large number” of protesters injured on Monday, attributing that shooting to groups seeking to undermine “the goals of the revolution.”
The opposition Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said at least six people were shot dead Monday, though it did not specify whether all of them were killed in Khartoum or under what circumstances. SUNA said three of those injured were members of the armed forces.
After three decades in power, Bashir was ousted and arrested in April following a military coup and protests by thousands of people in the northeastern African country against his rule.
The protests began in late 2018 over the rising cost of living, and escalated into a push for Bashir’s removal, with mass rallies and sit-ins outside the presidential compound and army headquarters. Bashir responded with a crackdown that led to scores of civilian deaths.
He and several other former members of his regime are being detained in the Kober maximum-security prison, which was notorious for holding political prisoners during his dictatorship.
On Monday, Sudan’s Public Prosecutor Office said it had charged Bashir over the killing of protesters.
“The Public Prosecutor’s Office has charged former President Omar al-Bashir and others with incitement and criminal complicity in the killing of demonstrators in recent events,” it said in a statement to CNN.
Bashir also faces five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, in connection with Sudanese military actions in Darfur between 2003 and 2008.
Sudan’s military has previously said that it would prosecute Bashir, but would not extradite him.
CNN’s Kara Fox and Hira Humayun contributed to this report.