HAZEM HASSAN has fixed a plastic chair topped with a siren and megaphone to the back of his motorbike. With a pair of bright yellow swimming goggles and a mask to guard against tear gas, he is one of a legion of Sudanese bikers who ferry away those injured in frequent anti-military protests.
Thousands of demonstrators against an October 25 military coup have fainted or been injured by heavy tear gas, stun grenades, and live bullets fired by security forces, according to medics who say at least 89 have been killed.
With roads barricaded and ambulances hard to come by, motorcyclists have been first responders at the frontlines of confrontations with security forces, bringing protesters to hospitals and field clinics.
Some have even fitted their bikes with makeshift stretchers. They offer transport on their bikes despite costly fuel bills and repairs.
“They are giving their lives for this country so I too am giving my motorbike, regardless of the cost of gas, for the sake of the country,” said Sheikh, another volunteer who chose not to give his last name. He showed scars on his arm which he said he got during a previous protest.
He added that the efforts have helped fight a growing association of motorcycles with hit-and-run robberies.
Medics aligned with the protest movement have consistently accused security forces of using excessive force, and the United States this week sanctioned a division of Sudanese police for human rights abuses.
Military leaders say that peaceful protests are allowed and that those who cause the casualties, including from security forces, will be held to account.