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Sudan’s military to address protesters demands within a week

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Sudan’s military ruler has pledged to address protesters’ demands of a civilian government within one week, re-echoing the army’s commitment to hand over power to the people.

New army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan who was addressing protesters on Sunday, also confirmed that cash worth over 113 million dollars had been seized from deposed president Omar al-Bashir’s residence.

Protesters waved national flags and held their mobile phones aloft as night fell, the torches on their devices once more creating a sea of light outside the army headquarters, where they have been encamped since before Bashir’s April 11 downfall.

Clapping and waving Sudanese flags, the crowd waited for their leaders to announce a civilian council that they want to take power from the military rulers as loudspeakers played nationalist and revolutionary songs.

“High! High! Sudan is up high,” huge crowds of protesters chanted.

“Our revolution is civilian and protected by the people,” they vowed.

They also chanted “freedom” and “Whether it (the regime) falls or not, we are staying”, as they again pledged to keep up the pressure on the country’s new military council.

Power to the people

On Saturday, protest leaders and the military rulers held talks about a power handover and agreed to continue discussions.

“We clarified our main demand, which is the transfer of power to civilian authorities,” Siddiq Yousef, a senior member of the Alliance for Freedom and Change, the umbrella group leading the protest movement, told state television after Saturday’s talks.

“We agreed to continue negotiations to reach a solution that satisfies both the sides, so that the transfer of power will happen in a peaceful way.”

After Bashir was ousted by the army, the military rulers resisted calls to transfer power to a civilian body.

“What we want from them is a timetable to hand over power, so things don’t drag on,” said Ahmed al-Rabia, a leader of the umbrella group of unions for doctors, engineers and teachers.

He said mounting pressure from the street and from the international community was expected to make the military council cede power in “two to three weeks”.

End military rule

Protest leaders say the civilian council would form a transitional government to rule Sudan for a four-year term, followed by elections.

“All we hope for is to be ruled by civilians and get rid of the military rule,” said protester Ehsan Abdallah.

They have since suspended talks with the military.

“We have decided to opt for escalation with the military council, not to recognise its legitimacy and to continue the sit-in and escalate the protests on the streets,” Mohamed al-Amin Abdel-Aziz of the SPA told crowds outside the Defence Ministry on Sunday.

On Sunday Riyadh and Abu Dhabi pledged to inject $500 million into the Sudanese central bank and $2.5 billion to help provide food, medicine and petroleum products, the official Saudi Press Agency said without specifying if the money is a gift or a loan.

The Sudanese pound surged on the black market on Sunday, trading at 45 to the dollar against 72 last week.

The military council has made some concessions to the protesters by agreeing to demands such as detaining Bashir and releasing many political prisoners and demonstrators.

AFP



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