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The military-run Transitional Military Council (TMC) has suspended talks with protesters for 72 hours in Sudan. However, protest for a civilian government and democracy is continuing. The opposition alliance has vowed to continue sit-ins outside the defense ministry and across the country. The opposition demands that the military hand over power to civilians. The political situation still is in turmoil.

Media reports said:

Protesters in Sudan are sticking to their initial plan for a civilian government.

Despite a deal between the TMC and the opposition on Wednesday, the protesters staged a sit-in camp sticking to their demands.

“This sit-in camp is related to a number of demands, not just one. One of our first and main demands was a civilian government, but there are other things that also go without saying, for example, trying wrongdoers”, said Dr. Alanood Baqer.

“We are still sticking to our plan. The barriers (at the sit-in camp) are there and they are not moving until our demands are met”, said Altaj Blah.

Some protesters claim the progress towards resolution of political problem is slow.

Protesters returned for further sit-in on Tuesday, blocking roads and bridges with bricks and rocks.

The sit-in area and eastern Khartoum were blocked off from the capital’s center by barriers erected by protesters on Tuesday.

Opposition regrets TMC’s suspension of talks

The opposition alliance Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) on Thursday said the TMC’s suspension of talks with protesters for 72 hours was a “regrettable decision”.

The DFCF has also vowed to continue sit-ins outside the defense ministry and across the country.

Talks suspended

Earlier in the day, the TMC suspended the talks after protesters broke a deal on de-escalation, the council chief said in a televised statement.

Sudan’s army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said in a statement broadcast live on state television that talks with protesters over installing civil rule have been suspended for 72 hours.

“We decided to suspend the negotiations over civil rule for 72 hours to help prepare an atmosphere for completing the deal,” Burhan said on Thursday, demanding that protesters dismantle roadblocks in Khartoum, open bridges connecting the capital and other regions and “stop provoking security forces.”

The TMC, which took over after overthrowing and jailing Bashir, has said it would not tolerate the continued closure of main Khartoum roads and bridges by protesters but promised not to use force to disperse the sit-ins.

The TMC has accused demonstrators of expanding a protest site set up last month outside the Defense Ministry to other parts of the capital, disrupting movement.

Burhan read out a long list of what he described as violations of understandings reached with protest leaders.

He said the TMC, which took over after overthrowing and jailing Bashir last month, had decided to remove all barricades put up by demonstrators beyond the area where the protesters had been camping since April 6 outside the Defense Ministry.

Troops fire extensively, 14 injured

At least nine people were wounded when Sudanese forces used live ammunition to clear demonstrators from central Khartoum.

In a Facebook post, the opposition Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said that 14 people were wounded, including eight who had gunshot wounds.

Troops in military vehicles using the logo of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fired extensively as they tried to clear demonstrators on al-Mek Nimir Avenue in central Khartoum, near the Foreign Ministry.

“People were walking towards the barricades and they (security forces) were firing shots at them,” a 20-year-old demonstrator, who asked not to be named, said, showing a handful of empty bullet casings and referring to roadblocks set up by protesters.

On Monday after security forces tried to clear some protest sites, at least four people, including three protesters and a military police officer, were killed in an outburst of violence. They were the first deaths linked to the protests for several weeks.

The TMC claimed that shooting to groups seeking to undermine “the goals of the revolution.”

On its Twitter page, the state-run news agency SUNA said three of those injured in the shooting were members of the armed forces.

The same method

A spokesperson for the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), which spearheaded months of protests that led to the military’s removal of President Omar al-Bashir last month, said: “We hold the military council responsible for attacking civilians.”

“They are using the same methods as the previous regime in dealing with rebels,” SPA spokesperson Amjad Farid told Reuters.

The violence has cast a shadow on talks that had appeared on course to reach a deal on forming a joint military-civilian body to run the country for a three-year transition period until presidential elections. Both sides traded accusations on who was responsible for the violence.

Investigation committee

Early on Wednesday the military announced a committee to investigate the targeting of protesters after at least four people were killed in violence in Khartoum on Monday.

The violence took place hours before the TMC was due to meet representatives of the DFCF to try to hammer out a final deal for the transition period.

The transition period is 3years

The two sides, which have held talks for several weeks, announced early on Wednesday they had agreed on the composition of a legislative council and the duration of the transition.

Some demonstrators expressed caution over the prospects of an agreement that would satisfy their demands for a handover of power to civilians, and for security forces to be held to account for the deaths of demonstrators.

In the agreement announced early on Wednesday the two sides said the transition would last three years – a compromise between the military council’s proposal of two years and the opposition DFCF’s preference for four.

The TMC said the DFCF would have two-thirds of the seats on a transitional legislative council while parties outside the alliance would take the rest. Elections would be held at the end of the three-year transition.

The DFCF members blamed security and paramilitary forces, while also voicing suspicions that groups linked to Bashir might be fomenting unrest to undermine the chances of a political accord.

The number of demonstrators has swelled at the site of the sit-in over recent days, becoming a point of contention for security forces as the location is just over half a kilometer (around 0.3 miles) from the presidential palace.

On Monday, at a different site, unidentified attackers opened fire on another group of seated demonstrators.

Earlier Wednesday, the TMC and the opposition agreed to a transition period of three years at a joint press conference, with a final agreement on the transition expected to be reached within 24 hours.

The first six months of the interim period will be allocated to signing peace agreements and “halting the war across the country,” said SUNA.

The protest

The protests first began in late 2018 over the rising costs of living, and escalated into a push for Bashir’s removal from office, with mass rallies and sit-ins outside the presidential compound and army headquarters. Bashir responded with a crackdown that led to scores of civilian deaths.

He and several other former members of his regime are being detained in the Kober maximum-security prison, which was notorious for holding political prisoners during his dictatorship.

On Monday, Sudan’s Public Prosecutor Office instructed expedited charges to be brought against Bashir in the killing of protesters.

“The Public Prosecutor’s Office has charged former President Omar al-Bashir and others with incitement and criminal complicity in the killing of demonstrators in recent events,” said a statement from the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Bashir also faces five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, in connection with Sudanese military actions in Darfur between 2003 and 2008.

Sudan’s military has previously said that it would prosecute Bashir, but would not extradite him.

Generals, step down, demand protesters

At a sit-in outside the army headquarters in Khartoum where thousands remain camped for weeks, calling on the army generals to step down.

“The old regime has not fallen yet. Therefore, we are staying. You have seen with your own eyes the oppression that happened. We have escalated because we rejected the decisions by the Transitional Military Council. We have blocked Nile Street to pressure the government. We want to deliver our demands and our voices so that people know that we reject what they are doing. They use the whips on us, a protester Abdallah Ismail said.

“Absolutely not, we will not accept being treated like we have been treated by the previous and current regimes, whether Bashir or others. We have been treated in ways that are unacceptable. This scenario will not be repeated, said Rasha Ali


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