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Sudan protesters keep up campaign for civilian rule

AFP  |  Khartoum 

Thousands of Sudanese protesters performed the weekly Muslim prayers outside headquarters on Friday, a day after vast crowd of demonstrators flooded to demand the military rulers cede power.

Protesters have massed outside the complex in central since April 6, initially to demand the overthrow of longtime leader

But since his ouster by the on April 11, the protesters have kept up their sit-in, demanding that the military council that took over hand power to a civilian administration.

Despite international support for the protesters, the 10-member council has so far resisted, although three of its members resigned on Wednesday under pressure from the street.

The resignations triggered jubilation among the protesters, who massed in their tens of thousands on Thursday in response to a call from their leaders for a "million-strong" march.

Despite the scorching heat, the protesters were back in numbers on Friday, an reported.

"Freedom, freedom," they chanted as Sheikh delivered the sermon.

"We will not retreat until we get our main demand of civilian rule," said Younis, an activist from Sudan's war-torn western region of

He also called for the "symbols" of the old regime to be punished.

"They must face fair and transparent justice, they have to be held accountable," he said, as the protesters chanted "Blood for blood! We will not accept compensation!".

Another Darfuri, Harun Adam, said his family lived in Kalma, one of the sprawling camps that are still home to hundreds of thousands of people who were driven from their homes by the Bashir government's brutal response to the ethnic minority rebellion which erupted in 2003.

"I'm here since April 6," when the sit-in started, Adam told AFP.

"I'm ready to stay here for a year until we get our main demand, which is a civilian government and that all those who committed crimes be held accountable."

Behind him crowds chanted "One, two, three, four, we are all Darfur!" The military council, led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, says it has assumed power for a two-year transitional period.

Protest leaders have held several rounds of talks with the council and the two sides have agreed to set up a joint committee to chart the way forward but there has so far been no breakthrough.

has thrown its weight behind the protesters.

State Department said on Tuesday that supports "the legitimate demand of the people of for a civilian-led government" and urged all parties to work together to that end.

But at a summit hosted by Egyptian on Tuesday, African leaders conceded that more time was needed for a transition to civilian rule.

Their statement angered the protesters who held a rally outside the on Thursday.

The had taken a strong line setting an end of April deadline for the military council to hand power to civilians or face suspension from the 55-nation bloc.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 26 2019. 18:45 IST