‘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. 

Lebanon not expecting new aid pledges at Paris meeting

Updated 10 December 2019

Lebanon not expecting new aid pledges at Paris meeting

  • The political impasse returned to square one on Sunday when a tentative agreement on a new PM unraveled
  • Lebanon has also been in a political impasse since Saad Al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29

BEIRUT/PARIS: Lebanon does not expect new aid pledges at conference which France is hosting on Wednesday to press for the quick formation of a new government that can tackle an acute financial crisis.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged Lebanon to create a new government swiftly or risk the crisis worsening and threatening the country’s stability.
The economic crisis is the worst since the 1975-90 civil war: a liquidity crunch has led banks to enforce capital controls and the Lebanese pound to slump by one third.
Lebanon has also been in a political impasse since Saad Al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29, prompted by protests against the ruling elite, with no agreement on a new government.
Nadim Munla, senior adviser to Hariri, who is running the government as caretaker, told Reuters the Paris meeting would probably signal a readiness to offer support once a government is formed that commits to reforms.
“They will recognize that there is a short-term problem and that if and when a government (is formed) that basically responds to the aspirations of people, most probably the international community will be ready to step in and provide support to Lebanon, or additional support,” he said.
“It is not a pledging conference.”
Lebanon won pledges of over $11 billion at a conference last year conditional on reforms that it has failed to implement. The economic crisis is rooted in years of corruption and waste that have generated one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens.
The political impasse returned to square one on Sunday when a tentative agreement on a new prime minister unraveled.
Hariri is now seen as the only candidate for the post.
He has said he would only lead a cabinet of specialist ministers, believing this is the way to address the economic crisis, attract aid, and satisfy protesters who have been in the streets since Oct. 17 seeking the removal of a political class blamed for corruption and misrule.
But Hezbollah and its allies including President Michel Aoun say the government must include politicians.
“Let’s see the coming few days and if there will be an agreement among the political parties on a formation ... otherwise we might take longer,” Munla said. Hariri would be willing to have politicians in cabinet but they should not be “the regular known faces of previous governments.”