KHARTOUM, Sudan - Pro-democracy protesters defied Sudan's military rulers Tuesday, carrying out scattered demonstrations around the capital of Khartoum as security forces - including one of the most feared military units - fanned out in large numbers and clashed with opponents in the streets.
The assault on the protest had been openly prepared for days after negotiations between the junta and the civilian opposition front broke down over whether a military or a civilian would head a transitional regime during a proposed two-year transitional period in preparation for presidential elections.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said, "The protestors in Sudan have over the past few months been an inspiration, peacefully demonstrating and working to engage with the Transitional Military Council". "In order to do so, they have to use their weapons and kill people and shoot them down", Fardia said.
More deaths had been reported by witnesses but still needed to be officially confirmed, the CCSD said in a statement, calling the attack a "massacre".
A spokesman for the Transitional Council said the military "didn't disperse the sit-in by force" but that the security crackdown was instead focused on a gathering in a nearby "dangerous" area.
"Condemn the attack on protesters by Sudanese security forces", said British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in a tweet on Monday.
Britain's ambassador to Sudan, Irfan Siddiq, also called for an end to the violence. The forces attacking protesters included the Rapid Support Force (RSF), a paramilitary force with a well-documented record of abuse.
While the Sudanese military council dismissed the deliberate sit-in of Khartoum, saying that it targeted only the area of Colombia adjacent to the sit-in, which he described as "dangerous criminal focus".
Following the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in April, the UAE and Saudi Arabia together pledged $3 billion in financial and material support to Sudan.
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"The protest camp has not been dispersed", Kabbashi said.
The security services moved on the main protest site early on Monday, activists said, and heavy gunfire could be heard in video footage.
The crackdown has elicited strong reactions from the worldwide community, who are holding the TMC fully responsible for what has happened.
The deadlock in the negotiations soon began to spill over into public exchanges of accusations that, in some ways, suggested that the patience of the military, which has gained significant confidence from the backing of several regional powers, was running out and that breaking up the sit-in protest - a symbol of the revolution and the most effective tool available to the protest movement - was imminent.
He announced the military would unilaterally form an interim government and hold elections sooner, within seven to nine months, under global supervision.
Madani Abbas Madani, a leader of the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces opposition alliance, said a civil disobedience campaign would continue to try to force the council from power.
"There's a real risk of violence continuing", she said.
The AU Chairperson condemned the violence against protesters, called for an immediate and transparent investigation to hold those responsible accountable, and urged the council to protect civilians from further harm.
At the same time, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are believed to be advising Sudanese military leaders and urging them to crack down on the protest movement. Last month, on his first worldwide visit since the coup, he travelled to Saudi Arabia and pledged to continue Sudan's military support for the Saudi Arabian military campaign in Yemen.