Sudanese security forces fired tear gas at an anti-coup demonstration at the start of a two-day campaign of civil disobedience and strike against the military seizure of power last month.
Dozens of teachers carried banners saying “No, no to military government” and calling for a transition to “full civilian government” at a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Education in the capital Khartoum on Sunday.
The Sudanese army, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, seized power on October 25, dissolving the transitional administration and arresting dozens of government and political officials.
Since then, the international community has accelerated mediation efforts to find a way out of the crisis, which threatens to further destabilize the already troubled Horn of Africa region.
Pro-democracy protesters have taken place since the October 25 coup, but have faced deadly repression. At least 14 protesters have been killed and some 300 injured, according to the independent Sudan Central Medical Committee.
“We organized a silent position against al-Burhan’s decisions outside the education ministry,” Mohamed al-Amin, a geography professor, told the AFP news agency.
“Later the police came and tear gassed us even though we were just standing in the streets and carrying banners,” he said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties, but a Sudanese educators union said “a large number of teachers were detained.”
The teachers’ rally came after the military replaced department heads in the Ministry of Education, as part of sweeping changes it made across multiple sectors.
“The protest rejects the return of the remnants of the old regime” of deposed President Omar al-Bashir, the teachers union said in a Facebook post.
Sunday’s rally followed calls for civil disobedience made by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), a group of unions that were instrumental in the 2018-2019 protests that toppled longtime leader al-Bashir in April. 2019.
“The Sudanese people have rejected the military coup,” the SPA said on Twitter, promising “no negotiation, association, legitimacy.”
“We will start with barricades on the main streets to prepare for massive civil disobedience on Sunday and Monday,” he said, urging protesters to avoid confrontation with security forces.
The SPA circulated its latest appeals via text messages to avoid internet outages since the coup.
Since Saturday night, protesters have been seen piling up bricks and large flagstones to block streets in Khartoum and neighboring cities.
As of Sunday morning, some stores were still open, but others were closed in Khartoum and its twin cities of Omdurman and Khartoum-North, according to witnesses.
“The movement in the streets is less than usual, but there is no total blockade of streets or closing of shops” after the call for civil disobedience, an Omdurman witness told AFP who refused to give his name for fear of reprisals. .
Some hospitals and medical personnel were working normally, while others were on strike.
Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Khartoum, said that many barricades erected by protesters to hinder movement in the capital had been dismantled by security forces and civilians.
“The protesters say that these barricades have become a symbol of their resistance to the military takeover,” he said.
The latest resistance effort came nearly two weeks after al-Burhan dissolved the government, as well as the ruling joint military-civilian Sovereign Council that was supposed to lead the country toward full civilian rule.
Al-Burhan also declared a state of emergency and detained Sudan’s civilian leaders.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was briefly detained, but was later placed under effective house arrest.
On Thursday, the military released four civilian members of their government, but other key figures remain in detention.
On the same day, security forces arrested other civilian leaders near a United Nations building in Khartoum following their meeting with the UN Special Representative in Sudan, Volker Perthes.
“We call on military leaders to stop arresting politicians and activists and to stop committing human rights violations,” Perthes said in a statement on Friday.
The military takeover sparked international condemnation, including cuts in punitive aid and demands for a speedy return to civilian rule.
Al-Burhan insists that “it was not a coup” but a move to “rectify the course of the transition.”
Al Jazeera’s Morgan said protesters are now calling for the complete dissolution of the power-sharing agreement that was signed in 2019 between the military and civilian leaders.
“They say they want the army to return to its barracks and not have any role in the government of the country and its politics,” he said.
“Mediation efforts to try to bridge the gap between Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the civilian coalition on the one hand, and the army on the other, have yet to produce any results,” he added.
Earlier this week, Nureldin Satti, Sudan’s ambassador to the United States, told Al Jazeera’s UpFront program that the coup “cannot continue with the mobilization that we have seen and will see in the coming days and weeks.”