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Protests demanding civilian rule pile pressure on Sudan junta

Protesters gathering outside the Sudanese military headquarters yesterday (Anadolu/Getty)

Date of publication: 19 April, 2019

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Thousands of protesters massed outside Sudan's army complex in Khartoum on Friday morning, piling pressure on the country's new military rulers to swiftly transfer power to a civilian administration

Thousands of protesters massed outside Sudan's army complex in Khartoum on Friday morning, piling pressure on the country's new military rulers to swiftly transfer power to a civilian administration, witnesses said.

The army on April 11 ousted Sudan's longtime leader Omar al-Bashir after a months-long protest movement. A military council which took power has so far resisted calls from protesters to quickly bring in a civilian administration.

On Thursday, exactly four months since protests started, roads leading to the sit-in area were packed with crowds flocking to the army headquarters.

Activists mobilised demonstrators through social media to keep up the pressure for replacing the military council, now led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

"Power to civilians, power to civilians," protesters chanted through Thursday night.

"I won't leave until Burhan transfers power to a civilian government," said Wali Aldeen, who has camped outside the complex since the day Bashir was ousted. Activists have called for large crowds to gather after the weekly Muslim prayers, as on previous Fridays.

On Wednesday, the Change and Reform Alliance, which includes the main Sudanese protest groups, handed the ruling military council a letter proposing the creation of a Presidential Council including civilians and military officers and a government consisting of only civilians.

Madani Abbasi Madani, of the Sudanese Professionals Association told the New Arab (Arabic), “the Change and Reform Alliance hope that the Military Council responds to the proposals sent to them, and that a solution is found in complete agreement,  so that the Alliance won’t have to resort to measures which aren’t agreed upon.”

Protests first broke out on December 19 in response to the tripling of bread prices, swiftly turning into nationwide rallies against Bashir's three-decade rule. After his ousting, protesters demonstrated against General Awad Ibn Auf who took over as the first head of the military council, insisting he was a close aide of Bashir and a top regime figure.

Ibn Auf stepped down in less than 24 hours and was replaced by Burhan, who has so far been conciliatory to the protestors, lifting a night-time curfew and vowing to "uproot" the Bashir regime.

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