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Sudan protestors step up calls for civilian rule

AFP  |  Khartoum 

Sudanese protestors vowed Friday to chase out the country's new military rulers, as the offered talks on forming a civilian government after it ousted

But the military council warned it would tolerate no breaches of security, after protesters defied a night-time curfew following Bashir's Thursday fall, keeping up their sit-outside the headquarters.

Thousands of men and women, dressed in white, also braved the searing Sudanese heat on Friday to offer prayers outside the sprawling complex, witnesses said.

The imam leading the prayers was draped in the Sudanese flag.

Hussein Mohamed, an elderly man from Omdurman, said he was attending the protest for the first time in response to a call to hold Friday prayers there.

"It is too, too hot but I'm impressed by what our young men and women are doing here," he said. "I'll surely come again." Many Coptic Christians were also there, serving and drinks to Muslims as they got ready for prayers.

Some also brought mats for the worshippers.

The of the military council's political committee, Omar Zain al-Abdin, confirmed that a day after he was deposed, remained in custody.

The takeover brought to an end 30 years of rule by Bashir, one of Africa's longest serving leaders.

But Abdin said the council would never extradite him or any other Sudanese citizen.

The (ICC) has a longstanding arrest warrant against for suspected genocide and war crimes.

The military council had announced a two-year transition period, but Sudan's UN told the in that this could be shortened "depending on developments on the ground and agreements between stakeholders".

Protesters have held mass demonstrations for four months demanding Bashir's overthrow, defying repeated deadly attempts by riot police and the feared to crush them.

But when his overthrow was finally announced on Thursday in an address to the nation, by Awad Ibnouf, it was met not with joy but anger.

Protest leaders have dismissed the transitional military council as the "same old faces" from the regime which led the country into multiple conflicts along with worsening poverty and social inequality.

Thursday's announcement meant "we have not achieved anything", said one protester who gave his name only as Adel.

"We will not stop our revolution. We are calling for the regime to step down, not only Bashir." Analysts said Bashir's overthrow in a "palace coup" made the transition to democracy in a more distant prospect.

"Ironically, the prospects for democratic transition may be more remote than when Bashir was in power, as there's no centre of power with which to negotiate," said Alex de Waal, a specialist at

"The power struggle within the security cabal that took power yesterday is just beginning," de Waal said. "Bashir had kept their rivalries and ambitions in check; his removal brings in its wake an unregulated uncertainty."

Protesters at the sit-in said their quarrel was with the commanders who had led the coup, not the rank and file.

"This is now our square. We have taken it and won't leave until victory is achieved," said one protester who gave his name as Abu Obeida.

"We broke the curfew. We will continue doing it until we have a civilian transitional government." Multiple world powers have made calls for a peaceful transition.

urged the military council "to exercise restraint and to allow space for civilian participation within the government".

The urged the army to carry out a "swift" handover to civilian rule. The decried Bashir's military overthrow, saying it was "not the appropriate response to the challenges facing and the aspirations of its people".

Most shops and offices were closed on Friday, a day of prayer and rest in Sudan. But crowds again began thronging the streets of after the main weekly Islamic prayers, raising fears of a confrontation between protesters and the security forces.

The ousted stands accused of unleashing Arab militias in a scorched earth campaign against minority villages, killing tens of thousands of civilians and forcing hundreds of thousands more into camps.

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

First Published: Fri, April 12 2019. 23:15 IST
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