Huge crowds join protest sit-in against Sudan's military leaders

Cheryl Sanders
May 4, 2019

Extending the deadline for 60 days, the Council urged that the military and the Sudanese stakeholders should continue to work together towards urgently completing the negotiations and agreeing on the composition of a civilian-led Transitional Authority.

The AU had threatened to suspend Sudan following a coup that saw Omar al-Bashir ousted by the military after almost three decades in power, giving the army 15 days from April 15 to relinquish power. The military council proposed a 10-member council with three seats for civilians.

The disagreement prompted the alliance to announce a "million-strong march to assert our main demand, which is for civilian rule".

Sudanese protesters are growing increasingly frustrated with the army, and have called a mass protest on Thursday, accusing the military leaders of not being serious about handing power to civilians.

Protesters gathered in even greater numbers than recent days, packing all the roads and bridges leading to the central Khartoum complex, AFP correspondents there said, as talks between protest leaders and the country's military rulers remained deadlocked.

As both sides in the standoff remained intransigent, they held separate news conferences on Tuesday to explain their divergent views.

"What we feel from all the actions of the military council to the moment is that it is not serious about handing over power to civilians", said Mohamad Nagi al-Asam.

"The military council insists that the [joint] council should be military led with civilian representation", Assam said, adding the army had been seeking to "expand its powers daily".

Last week, Saudi Arabia and UAE governments agreed to send Sudan around $3 billion in aid and in support of what they claimed "Sudanese people demands" and the current military rule.

'If we provoke.the armed forces which contributed to the change, we will be asking for trouble.

The military council's deputy head Mohammad Hamdan Dagolo has said it is "committed to negotiations but [will allow] no chaos".

A tripling by the government of the price of the bread in the face of a chronic shortage of flour was the immediate trigger for the four months of nationwide protests that led up to Bashir's overthrow.

The spokesman of the military council Shamseddin al-Kabbashi said the "armed forces must remain in the sovereign council" because of tensions facing the country.

Three weeks after Bashir was ousted by the military, vast crowds of demonstrators thronged the area around Sudan's army headquarters in Khartoum Thursday for a "million-strong" march demanding a civilian administration. The AU initially gave the military a two-week deadline to avoid suspension in the bloc, which it later extended.

Since then, the 10-member council of generals has resisted calls to step down and demonstrators accused them of being little different from Bashir.

Other reports by iNewsToday