Sudanese Launch New Protests to Pressure Military


 Sudanese military officers and demonstrators ride atop a military tanker as they protest against the army's announcement that President Omar al-Bashir would be replaced by a military-led transitional council, in Khartoum, Apr. 12, 2019.
Sudanese activists were holding nationwide protests on Tuesday to press the military to hand over power to a civilian authority after the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir earlier this month.
Railway workers and other protesters gathered in Atbara, the northern transport hub where the uprising began in December, and traveled by train to the capital to join tens of thousands outside the military headquarters in Khartoum, where protesters have kept up a sit-in since April 6.

Al-Bashir, who ruled Sudan for 30 years, was forced from office on April 11 after four months of protests led by the Sudanese Professionals Association, a group of private unions that is demanding a full and immediate transfer of power to a civilian council.

The SPA suspended talks with the military over the weekend after the military council said it was consulting all of Sudan's political forces on a path forward. The protesters accuse the council of failing to make a clean break with al-Bashir's regime and of trying to marginalize the SPA by depicting it as one of many political factions.

The SPA says the head of the military council's political committee and its chief negotiator, Lt. Gen. Omar Zain al-Abdin, was the head of al-Bashir's party within the military and "is trying to bring back the deposed regime."

The protesters also say the military council has yet to recognize the Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change — a coalition led by the SPA and including other groups — as their representative. The protesters fear Islamists and other factions close to al-Bashir, who is now jailed in Khartoum, will have a role in the transition.

The military council has said it is in talks with all political parties to name a prime minister and civilian government to run the country for two years.

The SPA has instead called for a Cabinet of technocrats to run the country's daily affairs. They have also called for a legislative council, in which at least 40 percent of the membership would be women, to draft laws and oversee the Cabinet until a new constitution is written.

The SPA plans to announce its own civilian transitional council during mass rallies on Thursday.

In Cairo, meanwhile, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi hosted a meeting with Moussa Faki, the chairman of the African Union commission, and several other African leaders to discuss the situation in Sudan.

Bassam Radi, spokesman for Egypt's presidency, said the leaders agreed to give Sudan's military three months to hand over power to a "civilian-led political authority" or face suspension from AU activities. The AU had initially given the military 15 days to transfer power to civilians.