Tuesday 17 September 2019

Tensions rise in Sudan as talks reach impasse

Protesters holding national flags shout slogans during a demonstration in front of the Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
Protesters holding national flags shout slogans during a demonstration in front of the Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Fay Abuelgasim and Samy Magdy

Tensions escalated in Sudan yesterday after talks broke down between protesters and the country's military rulers, who called for the reopening of roads blocked by sit-ins established during the uprising that drove President Omar al-Bashir from power.

The protesters, who have been rallying outside the military headquarters in Khartoum since April 6, have demanded a swift handover of power to civilians.

A military council has ruled Mr al-Bashir was forced from office on April 11 after nearly four months of mass protests against his 30-year rule.

Thousands of people demonstrated outside the capital yesterday.

Videos showed hundreds of high school students marching in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan and shouting "Revolution". Other footage showed thousands of protests outside a military complex in the province of Sennar, about 360km east of Khartoum.

The military council issued a statement earlier in the day calling for the "immediate opening of the roads and removal of the barricades" around the sit-in in Khartoum.

It asked that other roads, closed by similar protests across the country, also be opened.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which has led the protests, vowed to carry on with the sit-in.

The umbrella group of professional unions called for a march today and mass rallies on Thursday, when it plans to announce its own civilian transitional council in a challenge to the military.

Large crowds had gathered outside the military headquarters overnight, singing and dancing as protest leaders delivered fiery speeches.

Qurashi Diefallah, a protester, said the army is "just an extension of the regime, which stole 30 years from us".

The organisers on Sunday suspended talks with the military council, saying that it had failed to meet their demands for an immediate transfer to a civilian government.

Irish Independent

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