Khartoum, Sudan (CNN)Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Sudan’s capital Khartoum on Sunday in the largest mass demonstration since the deadly crackdown on a pro-democracy sit-in earlier in June.
Heavily armed security forces, led by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, lined the streets ahead of the demonstrations that started at approximately 1:20 p.m. local time (7:20 a.m. ET).Elsewhere, at least one protester died after being shot in the chest during a mass demonstration in the town of Atbara, according to Sudan’s Doctors Committee.And an eyewitness recounted seeing security forces firing tear gas at protesters in Omdurman, a suburb of Khartoum.Sudanese protestors chant slogans demanding civilian rule during a rally in Khartoum’s southern al-Sahafa district.The Sudanese Professional Associations (SPA), a body that led protests against former leader Omar al-Bashir, have called for the immediate and unconditioned handover of power to civilians. Read MoreThe SPA said the protesters’ aim is to express “determination to achieve freedom, peace and justice” in Sudan.Fears of violenceThe SPA warned of potential violence against protesters ahead of Sunday’s mass demonstrations, calling on the international community to not allow the Transitional Military Council (TMC) to “get away with another massacre” of demonstrators.Activists were killed and women were raped. But some defiant Sudanese say their revolution isn't over yetThe SPA’s statement comes after the TMC — which is led by former Janjaweed militia leader General Mohammed Hamdan Doglo (known as Hemeti) — warned Saturday that the Sudanese opposition would be held “fully responsible for any damage caused” during Sunday’s march, according to state-run Sudan News Agency (SUNA). “The same Janjaweed militias and other security forces that resorted to the use of excessive force at the massive peaceful sit-in at the Army Headquarters in Khartoum on 3 June 2019 might use the same violent tactics against our people today,” the protest leaders said in a statement.Police fired tear gas at protesters in Khartoum as thousands gathered for a mass demonstration.According to the SPA, security forces stormed its headquarters on Saturday and prevented the SPA from holding a news conference.Security crackdownAt least 100 people were killed during a security crackdown on a pro-democracy sit-in on June 3, for which Hemeti’s forces were largely blamed. Soldiers and paramilitary groups opened fire, according to witnesses.Sudanese soldiers stand guard on a street in Khartoum on June 9.The violence followed weeks of sit-in protests by pro-democracy advocates in the capital after the dramatic fall of al-Bashir in April.He was removed in a military coup after thousands of people took to the streets in protests that were originally focused around the cost of living, before moving onto calls for the dictator’s removal.Initial celebrations gave way to demands that the TMC, which took over after Bashir’s ousting, make way for a civilian-led interim body and hold elections.