Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Toronto on Saturday to protest a military coup in Sudan.
Protesters waved flags, shouted slogans and held posters in Nathan Phillips Square to condemn the military for its actions and call for human rights to be respected.
Saeed El-Hassan, a Sudanese Canadian activist, said democracy was returning to Sudan, but the coup earlier this week brought an abrupt end to this process.
“We are gathering here today to show solidarity with the Sudanese people fighting the recent coup in Sudan on October 25,” El-Hassan told reporters. “We urge Canadians from all cities to come together and show solidarity with the people of Sudan.”
El-Hassan said the Canadian government needs to speak out against the arrest and killing of civilians in Sudan. Tens of thousands protested on Saturday in the capital Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman. Three protesters were killed in Omdurman.
“Right now, people on the streets are fighting back for democracy,” El-Hassan said.
He said the coup was illegitimate and more international pressure should be put on immediately.
The coup, which has been condemned by the international community, has threatened to derail Sudan’s failed transition to democracy, which began after the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir in 2019. Since then, military and civilian leaders have ruled in a turbulent partnership.
Pro-democracy groups had called for protests across the country on Saturday to demand the reinstatement of a deposed transitional government and the release of senior politicians from detention.
The United States and the United Nations had warned Sudan’s strongman, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, that they regarded the military’s treatment of the protesters as a test, and called for restraint.
Saturday’s protest in Toronto was organized by the Sudanese Canadian Initiative in support of the Sudan Uprising.