Sudanese protesters urged to resist dispersal and return to streets

Cheryl Sanders
April 16, 2019

In the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Monday, thousands of demonstrators remained camped outside the army headquarters, calling for a return to civilian government.

In the footage, an officer is heard saying they came to open roads, "clean the area" and remove the barricades set up by the protesters to protect their gathering.

The protesters, numbering about 5,000 with more arriving, chanted "Freedom, freedom" and "Revolution, revolution", and appealed to the army to protect them, Reuters reported.

The Sudanese Professionals' Association (SPA) called for the military council to be disbanded and a new interim civilian ruling council to be formed, with the armed forces having representation. "We will continue the mass escalation and the sit-ins to..."

The protest outside the compound, which also includes the intelligence headquarters and the presidential residence, began on April 6, after more than three months of protests triggered by a deepening economic crisis.

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

Since then the heads of the military council and Sudan's powerful intelligence services have both been replaced, as protesters have continued to call for change.

On Sunday, the military council said it would name a civilian prime minister and Cabinet to help run the country but would not name a civilian to the office of the president.

A 10-member delegation representing the protesters had delivered a list of demands during talks with the council late on Saturday, according to a statement by the Alliance for Freedom and Change umbrella group.

But in a news conference, the council's spokesman did not respond to the protesters' demands.

A member of the military council said Sudan's next civilian government would decide whether to hand Bashir over to the Hague-based International Criminal Court where he has been wanted since 2009 on war crimes charges over the long-running conflict in Darfur in western Sudan. The military council's deputy Himeidti is a field commander for the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) counter-insurgency unit, which rights groups have accused of abuses in Darfur.

Burhan has pledged that individuals implicated in killing protesters would be held to account and that demonstrators detained under a state of emergency imposed by the president during his final weeks in power would be freed.

"Remember, we are talking about a regime that has been deep-rooted in power for 30 years, so the SPA and other powers behind this protest know. that the top ranks of the military, those who have staged this coup, will not easily give up the power that the military used to have in Sudan", Vall said.

"This must be done credibly and swiftly, with protest leaders, political opposition, civil society organisations, and all relevant elements of society, including women, who are willing to participate".

"The decision whether to extradite (Bashir) to ICC will be made by a popularly elected government and not the transitional military council", Jalaluddin Sheikh told journalists on Monday during a visit to Ethiopia.

Other reports by iNewsToday