Published: Tue, April 16, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Sudanese military forced to abandon attempt to clear protesters

Sudanese military forced to abandon attempt to clear protesters

Sudanese protesters have kept up a sit-in outside army headquarters in Khartoum since April 6.

The sit-in at the army headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, was the last straw that forced the military to oust President Omar al-Bashir last week.

On April 11, after almost four months of the popular uprising, a military takeover ended al-Bashir's 30-year authoritarian rule.

"Himeidti was part of the crimes that happened previously, but at least now he is on the side of the people", said Mohamed, a protester outside the army headquarters who gave only his first name for security reasons.

"We call on our people to come immediately to the sit-in area to protect our revolution".

Since then, negotiations have taken place between the council and protest organisers, who on Saturday submitted a list of demands to Sudan's military rulers.

The re-instatement of the country's 2005 constitution, which the military council suspended shortly after ousting Bashir.

It demanded the dissolution of paramilitary groups that were loyal to the old government, and of the National Intelligence and Security Service's (NISS) operations authority, and called for an end to Sudan's press law and the public order law, which they have said restricts freedoms.

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Council "committed" to transition The military council on Sunday met with political parties and urged them to agree on an "independent figure" to be prime minister, an AFP correspondent at the meeting said. "We want to set up a civilian state based on freedom, justice and democracy", one council member, Lt Gen Yasser al-Ata, told members of several political parties.

Protest leaders say their demands include restructuring the country's feared NISS agency, whose chief Salih Ghosh resigned on Saturday.

Speaking for the first time since the removal of Bashir, 75, last Thursday, representatives of the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) said they would not co-operate with the ruling council unless their demands were met.

An interim military council said it would lead the country through a transition period of up to two years, but protesters have vowed to remain in the streets until a return to civilian government is guaranteed. "The most potent form of leverage would be to go after the assets laundered by Bashir and his allies through the global financial system", Clooney wrote in a joint Washington Post column with rights activist John Prendergast.

Dagalo, known by his nickname Hemedti, heads Sudan's Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which human rights groups have accused of widespread abuses in the western region of Darfur.

Sudan's uprising began in December as a series of protests against the rising costs of fuel and food, but soon shifted to calls for al-Bashir to step down.

But the protesters' elation quickly turned to anger as Ibn Auf, a long-time al-Bashir loyalist, announced the establishment of a two-year transitional military council and later was sworn in as its head.

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