ModernGhanalogo

FEATURED: Re: Hon. Nenyi George Andah Was Never Hooted At Awutu Awubia Festival...

body-container-line-1
03.05.2019 Sudan

Unbowed Sudanese protesters vow to campaign during Ramadan

By Jay Deshmukh
Sudanese demonstrators hold Friday prayers at the protest camp outside army headquarters in Khartoum.  By ASHRAF SHAZLY (AFP)
MAY 3, 2019 SUDAN
Sudanese demonstrators hold Friday prayers at the protest camp outside army headquarters in Khartoum. By ASHRAF SHAZLY (AFP)

Defiant Sudanese protester Ahmed Hamid insists nothing can stop him campaigning for the army to relinquish power -- not even the start next week of strength-sapping fasting during Muslim holy month Ramadan.

Demonstrators remain camped out in the soaring heat of Khartoum calling for civilian rule three weeks after the military ousted veteran leader Omar al-Bashir.

"We cut the head and part of the body is still there and holding the head of this president," Hamid, 21, told AFP Friday at the sprawling protest site.

"We will stay fasting here the whole of Ramadan and even after Ramadan until we meet our demand."

Sudan has been rocked by months of nationwide protests that initially targeted Bashir's 30-year rule, accusing the leader and his regime of running the country's economy into the ground.

On April 6, thousands of protesters braving volleys of tear gas from security agents reached the army headquarters in central Khartoum and set up camp.

Five days later the military stepped in and deposed Bashir as calls from the crowds grew for them to intervene and end his rule.

But the 10-member army council that then took over has so far rebuffed pressure from the street and international calls to hand power to a civilian body.

Sudanese protesters are pushing for the military to hand power to a civilian adminstration after the ouster of veteran leader Omar al-Bashir.  By ASHRAF SHAZLY (AFP) Sudanese protesters are pushing for the military to hand power to a civilian adminstration after the ouster of veteran leader Omar al-Bashir. By ASHRAF SHAZLY (AFP)

So the protesters are now rallying against the council, demanding it be dissolved.

After several rounds of talks between the generals and protest leaders, the two sides agreed to form a joint civilian-military council that will replace the existing military body.

Despite days of wrangling they have been unable to settle on the composition of the new joint ruling body.

In the face of that stalemate, the protesters at the army complex show no sign of giving up.

'Badge of Honour'

On Friday they performed the weekly Muslim prayers at the sit-in under a scorching sun.

"People should not forget the martyrs, we must continue with the sit-in as it keeps us united," said an imam, delivering his sermon from atop a mini truck as a worshipper shielded him with an umbrella.

Officials say at least 65 people have been killed in protest-related violence since December.

As the imam spoke, hundreds of protesters flashing victory sign chanted "freedom, peace, justice", the catchcry of the protest movement that ousted Bashir.

Sudanese protesters have stayed put at the sit-in site despite the soaring heat.  By ASHRAF SHAZLY (AFP) Sudanese protesters have stayed put at the sit-in site despite the soaring heat. By ASHRAF SHAZLY (AFP)

Several volunteers, including teenagers, sprinkled water from small cans on rows of protesters to give them some respite as the midday heat reached 43 degrees Celsius.

Others offered drinking water to protesters as a van carrying prayer mats toured the sit-in area.

"No doubt I will stay until a civilian government is formed," said protester Awad Mohamed Awad, adding that he has been at the complex since the toppling of Bashir.

"I'm already here, I'll be fasting here for Ramadan," said the lawyer, as he draped the Sudanese flag around his shoulders.

"I want a civilian government that satisfies the demands of all the people."

Protesters say they already have a plan in place for Ramadan, whether it is during the hours of day-time fasting or for the nights.

"We have made arrangements for fasting and for Iftar (breaking of fast)," said Jaafar Wad al-Reef, a regular at the sit-in.

"I'm fine to fast. It's like a badge of honour to us to show our commitment," he said.

"Fasting next to the military headquarters in the heat is one of the least things we can do to get what we want."

Protesters like Salaheddine Ibrahim Dafallah say they can go on for months.

"We are staying during Ramadan, after Ramadan and until Eid al-Adha," said mining company employee Dafallah, referring to another Muslim holiday in August.

"If our demands are not met, the sit-in will not be broken."

body-container-line