Sudan: huge crowds call for civilian rule in the biggest protest since Bashir dethroned | News from the world


Huge crowds were formed outside the Sudanese Defense Ministry to ask the transitional military council of the country to hand over power to civilians.

Hundreds of thousands filled the streets on Thursday evening, the largest crowd that gathered in the center of the capital since last week, when former President Omar al-Bashir was ousted and the military council took over.

The protesters sang: "Freedom and revolution are the choice of the people" and "Civil rule, civil dominion" and have waved national flags. The giant screens showed a film documenting apparent abuses by security services.

"We will remain in the street until power is handed over to the civil authority," said 24-year-old protester Samia Abdallah. "We will eliminate military rule".

The protesters joined a sit-in that began on April 6 outside the defense ministry – the culmination of 16 weeks of protests triggered by a worsening economic crisis. This led Bashir to be ousted and arrested after three decades in power.

The Council said it was ready to meet some of the protesters' demands, including the fight against corruption, but indicated that it would not surrender power to protest the leaders.

He said a two-year transitional period will be followed by elections and he is ready to work with anti-Bashir activists and opposition groups to form a provisional civilian government.

"We are fully committed to delivering power within a maximum of two years," one of the council members, Lt. Salah Abdelkhalek, told state television on Thursday.

"Perhaps the most difficult issue the military council is facing now through its political committee is getting an agreement from the political spectrum and from the community forces on the appointment of a prime minister. The ball is in their court."

A Sudanese protester holds a cartel during the biggest protest since former President Omar al-Bashir was ousted.

A Sudanese protester holds a cartel during the biggest protest since former President Omar al-Bashir was ousted. Photography: Ozan Köse / AFP / Getty Images

The US State Department on Thursday called on the Sudanese military to step aside and make way for a peaceful transition led by civilians.

"The will of the Sudanese people is clear: it is time to move towards an inclusive transition government that respects human rights and the rule of law," a spokeswoman for the department, Morgan Ortagus, said in a statement.

A senior State Department official said that the US deputy secretary, Makila James, will hold talks in Khartoum over the weekend to assess the situation on the ground.

The official described the situation in Sudan as "extremely fluid" and stated that it is important to avoid a "quagmire of endless discussions" about who should lead an interim civil authority.

The United States said it was encouraged by the release of political prisoners and the cancellation of a curfew.

He said Washington's policies towards Sudan would be based on "our assessment of the events on the ground and the actions of the transitional authorities".

. (tagToTranslate) Sudan (t) Africa (t) Middle East and North Africa (t) Omar al-Bashir


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