Bashir: Change Comes Only Through Elections

Bashir: Change Comes Only Through Elections

Thursday, 10 January, 2019 - 09:45
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir waves to his supporters during a rally at the Green Square in Khartoum, Sudan January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
Khartoum- Asharq Al-Awsat
Demonstrations in Sudan intensified on Wednesday as thousands of pro-regime supporters took to the streets of the capital, calling for President Omar al-Bashir to stay in office, in conjunction with protests by demonstrators demanding his departure.

The city of Omdurman witnessed one of the largest demonstrations demanding the withdrawal of Bashir since the outbreak of protests four weeks ago, in which thousands of citizens, mostly young people, were faced by the security services with tear gas. Security personnel, on the other hand, provided water, protection, and transport to the president’s supporters in the Green Square in central Khartoum.

Bashir told a crowd of his party members and other allied political blocs that those “who want to assume power have only one way; that of the 2020 elections.” He declared his readiness to hand over power to the youth, whom he asked to prepare themselves and unite their ranks. He renewed his threats to “agents” and “saboteurs”, pledging to be tough with those who "burn and destroy properties of the Sudanese people."

Bashir thanked Sudan’s friends and supporters, especially the countries of “China, Russia, the UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar.”

Meanwhile, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said that two protesters were killed and eight others wounded by live bullets in the demonstrations in Omdurman. It added that security forces stormed a hospital and fired tear gas, which led to the escape of patients, and arrested a doctor from inside the emergency room, prompting doctors in Mohammed Amin Hamid Hospital to hold a comprehensive strike.

According to a statement issued by the Committee on its Facebook page, security forces imposed a total siege on Omdurman Hospital, fired tear gas and bullets sporadically in the courts of the big medical facility, before storming the emergencies department and using tear gas against the doctors and injured people and beating them.

The coordination committee of the national dialogue parties loyal to Bashir said that participation in the Green Square demonstrations in central Khartoum “exceeded expectations” and surpassed the preliminary estimates of “one million citizens”; but this number was significantly reduced by press estimates, which said around 7000 people joined the demonstration.

The spokesman of the Sudanese Professionals Association, Mohammed al-Asbat, told Asharq Al-Awsat that mobilization at the Green Square would not negatively affect the anti-regime movement, but confirms its victory because it was a reaction to the demonstrations and protests that continued for the fourth week in a row.”

Protests and demonstrations in Sudan began on Dec. 19 in the cities of Atbara and Port Sudan, due to the scarcity and high prices of bread and other commodities. They later evolved into calls to overthrow the regime and expanded into more than 25 cities and regions, including Khartoum.

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