Sudanese protesters keep up pressure on military to step aside
In the Sudanese capital Khartoum, protesters on Monday blocked an attempt to break up a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry, where demonstrators have been pushing for a quick transition to civilian rule.
By Linda Bordoni
Ongoing protests follow the ousting, last week, of autocratic President Omar al-Bashir, who had governed the country for thirty years.
Witnesses told reporters that troops had gathered on three sides of the sit-in and tractors were preparing to remove the protective stone and metal barriers, but protesters joined hands and formed rings around the sit-in area to prevent them.
A swelling number of protesters chanted “Freedom, freedom” and “Revolution, revolution”, and appealed to the army to protect them.
Earlier, Sudan’s main protest group, the Sudanese Professionals Association – the SPA – issued an urgent call for people to join the sit-in and foil any attempt to disperse it.
“We hope that everyone – the SPA said – will head immediately to the areas of the sit-in to protect your revolution and your accomplishments.”
The sit-in outside the compound, which also includes the intelligence headquarters and the presidential residence, began on April 6, after more than three months of protests triggered by a deepening economic crisis.
On Thursday, Sudan’s army announced that it had removed and detained Bashir after three decades in power and was setting up a transitional military council to run the country.
Since then the head of the military council and of Sudan’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Service have both been replaced, as protesters have continued to press for change.
Responding to the demands, the military council said it was restructuring the joint forces command, appointing a new chief of staff for the army and a deputy.
But protesters are continuing to demand an immediate handover of power to a civilian transitional government as well as the prosecution of former officials.
They have also requested the release of political detainees as well as the cancellation of all bureaucracy and permits for delivering humanitarian aid.