Sudan opposition leader calls on Bashir to quit
The leader of Sudan's main opposition party has called on embattled President Omar al-Bashir to step down weeks into widespread protests against his rule.
Sadiq al-Mahdi of the National Umma Party made the demand in a statement on Saturday after Bashir last week imposed a year-long state of emergency.
"[Bashir] should step down in order to create a new system that would bring about a comprehensive justice and peace and a transition to democracy," Mahdi said.
Mahdi, who was Sudan's elected prime minister when Bashir seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, also condemned the state of emergency across the country.
"This will mean more oppression against peaceful civil movements that are exercising their right to peacefully express their demands," he said.
On Saturday, Bashir handed his powers as chief of the country's ruling party to his newly appointed deputy.
The move came after Bashir last week imposed the state of emergency and dissolved the government in a bid to quell demonstrations and deadly clashes that have rocked the country since December.
Protestors have staged regular demonstrations across Sudan since December, accusing the administration of mismanaging the economy and calling on Bashir to step down.
Officials say 31 people have died in protest-related violence so far, while Human Rights Watch says at least 51 people have been killed.
The National Umma Party has said the protests against his successor's iron-fisted rule would carry on until he quits.
Protests first erupted over a government decision to triple the price of bread, but swiftly escalated into demonstrations against Bashir's rule.
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