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23.04.2019 Sudan

Sudan's civilians defy military, demand immediate transfer of power

LISTEN APR 23, 2019

Organisers of civilian protests in Sudan announced they have suspended talks with the Transitional Military Council because they said it is composed of remnants of the Bechir regime.

Crowds of protesters gathered outside Khartoum's Army headquarters. Aiming to keep pressure on the military, they have organized themselves to keep people in the streets 24 hours a day.

"We have decided to opt for escalation with the military council, not to recognise its legitimacy and to continue the sit-in and escalate the protests on the streets," declared Mohamedal-Amin Abdel-Aziz from the Sudanese Professionals' Association (SPA).

The opposition, led by the umbrella Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change that includes the SPA, has insisted on an immediate transfer of power to civilians.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) told the state TV that the formation of a joint military-civilian council was being considered.

The TMC also warned against people blocking roads and limiting the movement of people.

The council said it was unacceptable that some young people were policing the crowd. The people who have been searching the protesters taking part in the sit-in said they did so to protect the crowd.

They confiscated sharp objects and said they returned them when the people left the protests.

The TMC said that top members of Bashir's ruling National Congress Party have been arrested. The Council said it would retire all eight of the officers ranked lieutenant general in the National Intelligence and Security Service.

The African Union (AU) on Monday gave Sudan's military 15 days to hand over power to a "civilian-led political authority" or face suspension from AU activities. The AU said a civilian authority should hold elections "as quickly as possible".