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Elham AbolFateh

Middle East

Sudan's main protest group calls for civilian transitional council

Monday 15/April/2019 - 09:03 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by: Mohamed Emad

(Reuters) - The Sudanese group that led protests against deposed President Omar al-Bashir called on Monday for the transitional military council that has taken power to be disbanded and for a new interim civilian ruling council to be formed.

Representatives of the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA) piled on pressure on the armed forces leaders who have taken over، issuing a long list of demands for deeper and faster change.

If their demands were not met، the group would press on with protests and would not join a future transitional government، Ahmed al-Rabie، an SPA member، told Reuters.

The SPA was holding its first news conference since Bashir، who ruled with an autocratic hand، was ousted by the military last Thursday following months of street demonstrations.

A new interim civilian body should be given full executive powers، with the armed forces having representation، and the Transitional Military Council (TMC) that took over last week should be dissolved، the SPA said.

“If our demand for the formation of a civilian transitional council with military representation is not met، we will not be part of the executive authority، the cabinet، and we will continue the mass escalation and the sit-ins to fulfill our demands،” Rabie told Reuters.

The SPA issued its demands hours after protesters blocked an attempt to break up a sit-in outside the Defense Ministry that has continued despite Bashir’s departure، a Reuters witness said.

Troops had gathered on three sides of the sit-in and tractors were preparing to remove stone and metal barriers، but protesters joined hands and formed rings around the sit-in area to prevent them.

Some of the most prominent SPA leaders، most of whom are in their 20s and 30s and were detained until after Bashir’s ouster، spoke at the news conference.

SPA representatives also renewed their calls for the head of the judiciary and his deputies and the public prosecutor to be removed. They demanded the dissolution of Bashir’s National Congress Party and said they received affirmation from the TMC that the party will not participate in a transitional government being negotiated.

The SPA also called for the seizure of the party’s assets and the arrest of its prominent figures.

It demanded the dissolution of paramilitary groups that were loyal to the old government، and of the National Intelligence and Security Service’s (NISS) operations authority، and called for an end to Sudan’s press law and the public order law، which they have said restricts freedoms.

On Saturday، Salah Abdallah Mohamed Saleh، better known as Salah Gosh، resigned as head of NISS. He was once seen as the most powerful person in the country after Bashir and protesters held him responsible for the killing of demonstrators demanding an end to military rule.

“For us in the SPA، in the first stage، the transitional government stage، we will play a role in the restoration of the civil service and state institutions and establishing a democratic state،” said Gamaria Omar، an SPA member.

“Afterwards، the SPA will be comprised of unions، and will be a guardian of democracy in Sudan،” she added.

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