KHARTOUM: Protest leaders in Sudan called on Wednesday for a million-strong march through the streets of Khartoum and threatened a general strike to demand a civilian government.
Thousands of demonstrators have camped outside the military headquarters in the capital since before Omar Al-Bashir was deposed as president on April 11, and have vowed not to leave until their demands are met by the transitional military council that took power.
Siddiq Farouk, one of the protest leaders, said they were “preparing for a general strike” and a march by at least a million people if the army rulers refuse to hand power to a civilian administration.
For the first time, Sudanese judges said they would join the sit-in outside army headquarters “to support change and for an independent judiciary.”
Following the announcement of the general strike, three members of the ruling Transitional Military Council submitted their resignations, but these have yet to be accepted, the council said late on Wednesday.
Those who resigned were Lt. General Omar Zain Al-Abideen, head of the TMC’s political committee; Lt. General Jalal Al-Deen Al-Sheikh, and Lt. General Al-Tayeb Babakr Ali Fadeel.
The military council, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan since his predecessor quit after one day, says it will rule for a transitional period with a maximum of two years. The protesters are demanding an immediate handover of power to civilian authorities.
“We have come from Madani and we demand civilian rule,” the latest trainload of arrivals chanted on Wednesday. “Revolutionaries from Madani want civilian rule.”
The protesters suspended talks with the military council on Sunday over its refusal to transfer power immediately. The council invited the protest leaders to another meeting on Wednesday night at the presidential palace.
Military chiefs acknowledged the role of the protest alliance in “initiating the revolution and leading the movement in a peaceful way until the toppling of the regime.”
“The council is hoping that the outcome of the meeting ... will lead to resuming of talks with this umbrella group concerning the future of our homeland,” the military said.
Senior opposition figure Omar El-Digeir said protest leaders were prepared to meet directly with Burhan. “We are ready to talk with the chief of the military council and I think the issue can be solved through dialogue,” he said.
On Tuesday, the SPA and witnesses said security forces tried to break up a protester sit-in outside Khartoum’s Defense Ministry. The group instead encouraged protesters to put up more barriers and continue their demonstration.