‘One million will march’ in Khartoum to demand civilian rule over Sudan

The Sudanese demonstrators are ready to take “escalatory measures” if a civilian government is not created. (AFP/File)
Updated 25 April 2019

‘One million will march’ in Khartoum to demand civilian rule over Sudan

  • One of the demonstration leaders said they would take “escalatory measures”
  • Three generals submit resignation from the ruling Transitional Military Council

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. 

Bahrain to join US-led efforts to protect Gulf navigation

Updated 20 min 12 sec ago

Bahrain to join US-led efforts to protect Gulf navigation

  • Bahrain’s King Hamad voiced his appreciation of the US role in supporting 'regional security and stability'
  • US is seeking coalition to guarantee freedom of navigation in the Gulf

DUBAI: Bahrain said Monday it would join US-led efforts to protect shipping in the Arabian Gulf amid tensions between Washington and Tehran after a series of attacks on tankers.
Bahrain’s King Hamad voiced his country’s appreciation of the “US role in supporting regional security and stability” during a meeting with US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief General Kenneth McKenzie, state media said.
“The king confirmed the kingdom of Bahrain’s participation in the joint effort to preserve the safety of international maritime navigation and secure international corridors for trade and energy,” the official Bahrain News Agency reported.
The US has been seeking to form a coalition to guarantee freedom of navigation in the Gulf.
Britain, which already has warships on protection duty in the Gulf after a UK-flagged tanker was seized by Iranian Revolutionary Guards, has said it will join the planned operation.
But other European countries have declined to join, for fear of harming European efforts to rescue a 2015 treaty with Iran over its nuclear program.
Bahrain, which hosts the US Fifth Fleet, said last month that it would co-host a conference with the US on “maritime and air navigation security,” set for October.
Iran has seized three tankers in strategic Gulf waters since last month, including a British-flagged vessel.
That came after British Royal Marines helped impound a tanker carrying Iranian oil off the British overseas territory of Gibraltar on July 4.
Britain suspected it was destined for Syria in defiance of European Union sanctions, which Iran denies.
The US and its Gulf allies have also accused the Islamic republic of carrying out several mysterious attacks on ships in the region, which Tehran denies.