Sudan protest leaders to unveil civilian ruling body

Updated April 20, 2019


Khartoum: Protesters make victory signs after Friday prayers in front of the defence ministry.—Reuters
Khartoum: Protesters make victory signs after Friday prayers in front of the defence ministry.—Reuters

KHARTOUM: Sudanese protest leaders have announced plans to unveil a civilian body to take over from the ruling military council as demonstrators thronged on Friday outside army headquarters.

The military council, which took power after ousting longtime leader Omar al-Bashir on April 11, has so far resisted calls from protesters to quickly make way for a civilian administration.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which has been spearheading the protests, said in a statement that it would name members of the council at a news conference at on Sunday outside the army complex, to which foreign diplomats are also invited.

“We are demanding that this civilian council, which will have representatives of the army, replace the military council,” Ahmed al-Rabia, a leader of the umbrella group of unions for doctors, engineers and teachers, said.

Friday marked four months to the day since the government tripled the price of bread, sparking the first protests which escalated into widespread rallies demanding Bashir’s departure.

Access roads were packed, with crowds flocking the huge square outside army headquarters to offer the weekly Muslim prayers.

“This government should be a representative of all the people and their aspirations,” said prominent cleric Sheikh Mater Younis as he addressed thousands of protesters.

“It should include all Sudanese people and shouldn’t exclude anyone.” Protester Yasser Dahab said all who had committed crimes against the Sudanese people be put on trial.

He said he wanted to see a civilian council with a prime minister and a government led by technocrats.

“This government can then prepare for free elections in two years with participation from all parties,” Dahab said.

“The military should stay away from political life.” Calls for Bashir to face justice also came from the country’s war-torn Darfur.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2019