Sudan activists reject army proposal as ‘Russian’, demand more protests | Protest news

Sudan’s main civilian political bloc, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), dismissed the country’s coup leader’s proposal to make way for democratic rule as a “tactical retreat” and urged people to continue protesting.

Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, whose seizure of power last October ousted the FFC, vowed on Monday in a surprise move to “make room” for civilian groups to form a new transitional government.

But on Tuesday, the FFC called for “continued public pressure” on the streets after days of protests and dismissed Al-Burhan’s move as a “tactical retreat and a transparent maneuver”.

“The coup leader’s speech is a Russian giant, even worse than the October 25 coup,” said FFC leader Taha Othman.

“The crisis will end with the resignation of the leaders of the coup and the formation of a civilian government by the forces of the revolution,” he said.

“The resolution is first for the military to relinquish power and allow the revolutionary forces to form a fully civilian transitional government,” the group said in a statement.

Al-Burhan said late Monday that the military would no longer participate in the talks, facilitated by the United Nations, the African Union and the regional bloc IGAD, wanting instead to “make room for political and revolutionary forces and other national factions,” to to form a civilian government.

The announcement came eight months after a coup ousted civilians from the transitional administration, prompting widespread international condemnation and aid cuts to the northeast African nation.

Just hours after his surprise statement, al-Burhan flew to Kenya for the summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-member regional bloc, which began on Tuesday.

Al-Burhan’s televised address came as hundreds of anti-coup demonstrators continued to protest.

On the streets of Khartoum, where demonstrations have continued for days, protesters again defied security forces and held fast to their makeshift barricades.

“We don’t trust Burhan,” said Mohammed Othman, perched on a pile of bricks. “We just want him gone once and for all.

The FFC has so far refused to participate in talks with military leaders that were launched under international auspices in an attempt to restore the transition to civilian rule.

Security forces – as they have done repeatedly during the years-long protests – tried to disperse the crowds by firing stun grenades and tear gas, according to pro-democracy medics.

Sudanese security forces descended on the anti-coup sit-in to try to disperse protesters in Khartoum, injuring at least 11 people, medics said. Security forces also used tear gas against demonstrators in the city’s Buri and al-Jawda neighborhoods late Monday, according to Sudan’s medical committee, which is tracking protest victims.

Some of the wounded were hit with tear gas and other hard objects in the head and elsewhere, the group said in a tweet.

“Major complaints remain”

Sudan, one of the world’s poorest countries, has seen only rare periods of civilian rule. The latest coup not only worsened the political crisis, but pushed Sudan even deeper into a severe economic decline.

International actors have been pushing for civilian and military leaders to negotiate a return to a democratic transition they began after the 2019 ouster of longtime Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir.

Kholood Khair of the Insight Strategy Partners think tank in Khartoum said he believed Burhan’s statement was made to put “pressure on civilians” but warned that it could make little difference on the ground.

“There is no word of responsibility,” Khair said, noting that “the underlying complaints remain.”

Khair warned that protesters feared al-Burhan would bring “Bashir-era Islamists back into government” and that the coup leader was creating military and allied armed groups to “maintain economic privileges” in the future.

Sudan’s military dominates lucrative companies in sectors from agriculture to infrastructure.

Al-Burhan said on Monday that the “formation of the executive government” would be followed by the “dissolution of the Sovereign Council” – the governing body created under a fragile power-sharing agreement between the military and civilians in 2019.

A “Supreme Council of the Armed Forces” will also be created to be responsible for defense and security.

The council will combine the regular army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Force, a formidable and powerful unit commanded by al-Burhan’s deputy, Mohammed Hamdan Daglo.

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