Sudan Opposition Suspends Talks with Military Council

Monday, 22 April, 2019 - 09:15
Asharq Al-Awsat

The Sudanese opposition suspended on Sunday talks with the Transitional Military Council because it failed to meet their demands for an immediate transfer to a civilian government.

Protesters have accused the council of being little different from the ousted regime of veteran leader Omar al-Bashir who was topped by the army on April 11 following months of demonstrations.

They want the council to be dissolved and to hand power to a transitional civilian government.

Large crowds lit up the night sky with their cellphones, singing and chanting as protest leaders, of the Sudanese Professionals Association, delivered fiery speeches in the capital, Khartoum, on Sunday night.

The protesters fear the military intends to cling to power or put another general in charge.

Qurashi Diefallah, a protester, said they're disappointed because the army is "just an extension of the regime which stole 30 years from us."

On Monday, the military council demanded protesters remove blockades on roads leading to the military headquarters where thousands of demonstrators have camped for days calling on them to step down.

Protesters have massed outside the army complex since April 6, putting up barricades on roads leading to the area as well as checkpoints to frisk people coming to the rally.

"The roads have to be opened immediately to facilitate the movement of trains, and all means of transport in the capital and other states so as to help movement of essential items," the military council said in a statement.

On Sunday, new military ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan voiced dissatisfaction with protesters setting up checkpoints and searching those who come to the sit-in.

"It can't continue like this because security is the responsibility of the state," he said.

Protesters vowed to remain at the checkpoints they have set up every few meters across the roads leading to the protest site in central Khartoum.

"We will carry on manning the checkpoints as usual," 23-year-old demonstrator Kawthar Hasaballah told AFP.

"No one, not even the military council, will remove us from our places."

Demonstrators entering the site have to go through several layers of checks, including personal frisks and searching of their bags, an AFP correspondent reported.

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