Monday, April 22, 2019 | ePaper
Sudan military rulers face pressure for transfer to civilian rule
Demonstrators keep up the pressure outside Sudan's military headquarters in the capital Khartoum.
Sudan's military rulers faced pressure from demonstrators and Western governments to hand power to a new civilian government Monday as activists warned of an attempt to disperse a 10-day-old mass protest outside army headquarters.
Thousands remained camped outside the complex in Khartoum overnight after protest leaders issued demands to the military council set up following the ouster of veteran president Omar al-Bashir.
The organisation that spearheaded the months of protests leading to Bashir's fall, the Sudanese Professionals Association, called on their supporters to boost the numbers at the complex.
"There is an attempt to disperse the sit-in from the army headquarters area, they are trying to remove the barricades," the SPA said in a statement, without saying who was responsible.
"We call on our people to come immediately to the sit-in area to protect our revolution." Witnesses said several army vehicles had surrounded the area and that troops were seen removing the barricades which demonstrators had put up as a security measure.
The SPA has urged the military council "to immediately transfer power to a civilian government".
It said the resulting transitional government and the armed forces must bring to justice both Bashir and officials from his feared National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).
The United States, Britain and Norway urged the military council and other parties to hold talks over the country's transition to civilian rule.
In a joint statement by their embassies on Sunday, they warned against any use of violence to break up the protests, and said the "legitimate change" the Sudanese people demanded had not taken place.
"It is time for the transitional military council and all other parties to enter into an inclusive dialogue to effect a transition to civilian rule," they said.
"This must be done credibly and swiftly, with protest leaders, political opposition, civil society organisations, and all relevant elements of society, including women."
The military council on Sunday met with political parties and urged them to agree on an "independent figure" to be prime minister, an AFP correspondent at the meeting said.
"We want to set up a civilian state based on freedom, justice and democracy," a council member, Lieutenant General Yasser al-Ata, told members of several political parties.
A 10-member delegation representing the protesters delivered a list of demands during talks with the council late Saturday, according to a statement by the Alliance for Freedom and Change umbrella group.