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AFP
April 26, 2019

Sudan converge on army HQ for ‘million-strong’ protest

World

AFP
April 26, 2019

KHARTOUM: Sudanese marchers converged from all directions on army headquarters for a "million-strong" demonstration on Thursday to turn up the heat on the ruling military council after three of its members resigned following talks on handing over power.

The rally comes after Sudan’s new military rulers and protest leaders agreed to set up a joint committee, to chart the way forward two weeks after the ouster of veteran president Omar al-Bashir.

"We call on our people, who have been demanding a transitional civilian rule, to participate in the million-strong march," said the Alliance for Freedom and Change, the umbrella group leading the protests.

"Our sit-in will continue to protect our revolution and to ensure that all our demands are achieved," the alliance said in a statement. Witnesses said marchers were closing in on the main protest site from different directions. They included dozens of judges, dressed in their robes, rallying from the constitutional court, an AFP photographer said.

"We are here to give a message that the judiciary should be independent without any political intervention," a judge told journalists. An AFP photographer said in downtown Khartoum crowds of protesters gathered earlier outside Egypt’s embassy and consulate, which were surrounded by riot police.

Several people held banners calling on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi not to "interfere in our affairs", after Cairo hosted a summit of African leaders calling for more time for a transition to civilian rule in Sudan.

Across the city, demonstrators arrived at the army headquarters from the states of Jazeera, White Nile and also from Bashir’s hometown Shendi, increasing the numbers already camped at the site, many of them for the past several weeks.

The planned mass march follows a late-night meeting between the military council and leaders of the protest movement’s umbrella group. "We have an agreement on most demands presented in the document of the Alliance for Freedom and Change," Lieutenant General Shamseddine Kabbashi, spokesman of the military council, told reporters afterwards. He did not elaborate on the key demand of handing power to a civilian government, but said there "were no big disputes".

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which initially spearheaded months of protests against Bashir, described the meeting as a step towards "confidence-building". "Both sides agreed on the importance of joint cooperation to steer the country towards peace and stability," the SPA said on Thursday.

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