Pro-democracy Sudanese alliance rejects military role as Arab League team arrives

Sudan’s main pro-democracy group has rejected a return to power-sharing with the military, saying it will maintain its peaceful resistance to force the generals behind the October 25 coup to step aside and do so. facing lawsuits.

The Sudanese Professionals Association’s “political statement” on Sunday said it sought a civilian government of technocrats headed by an “independent national figure.”

He also wants the powerful paramilitary rapid support forces to be disbanded, the armed forces to be restructured and the internal security agency to be closed.

The two-page, 13-point document appears to reject the ongoing mediation efforts undertaken by regional and world powers, clouding hopes for a swift resolution of the crisis plaguing Sudan more than two years after the overthrow of the regime. years of the autocrat Omar Al Bashir.

The plan proposes a 20-member cabinet of non-members with a four-year term alongside a ceremonial sovereign council of five civilian members, and the creation of an assembly within two months that sits until the elections.

The protests followed the military takeover of Sudan – in pictures

If adopted by the SPA base, the plan would replace the power-sharing agreement reached in August 2019 between the military and civilians, the document said.

Significantly, the plan makes no mention of Abdalla Hamdok, the prime minister of the civilian-led government sacked in last month’s coup.

The document was released hours before state television reported that army chief Abdel Fattah Al Burhan had met with an Arab League delegation. The regional body called on parties to stick to the democratic transition agreed in 2019.

Sources in the ousted administration told Reuters on Saturday that talks with the military were at a “semi-deadlock” as the military refuses to return to a democratic transition. It came days after hopes for a breakthrough were sparked by the military release of four of Mr. Hamdok’s ministers. The army continued to arrest officials, activists, union leaders and journalists.

General Al Burhan overthrew the transitional military-civilian administration in which he was the top soldier with de facto presidential powers. He declared an indefinite state of emergency, detained several cabinet members and suspended a state commission formed to dismantle the remnants of Al Bashir’s regime.

He also pledged free elections in 2023 and declared the army the guardian and protector of the transition to democratic rule.

General Al Burhan’s takeover sparked almost daily street protests in his country, while the international community condemned the move. The United States and the World Bank are among the powers that have suspended aid.

At least 12 people have been killed and around 300 injured in street protests since the coup.

Late Saturday, state television announced that the directors of five state banks had been replaced. On Friday, the military dissolved the boards of directors of state-owned companies.

He also tightened restrictions on Mr. Hamdok, under house arrest since the coup, limiting his freedom to contact mediators and supporters.

Several government officials who opposed the military regime have been sacked and replaced by ministers forced to step down due to their close ties to the Al Bashir regime.

The military has also detained strike organizers and union leaders and placed state television, radio and news agency under its control.

A two-day civil disobedience campaign began on Sunday, drawing a modest response. Residents told Reuters that due to ongoing internet shutdowns, many had not heard the call to action.

Unlike closed shops, streets with no traffic and mass rallies in the days following October 25, central Khartoum was packed with traffic on Sunday as most banks reopened. Many stores were also open.

The famous Al Araby hypermarket near the city center has also resumed operations, with hundreds of shoppers thronging its streets.

As the faculty of the University of Khartoum decided to indefinitely suspend classes in protest against the coup, schools reopened on Sunday for the first time in nearly two weeks. Activists, however, reinforced barricades in the streets overnight to prevent vehicles from entering or leaving their neighborhoods.

A protest against the coup organized by teachers as part of the civil disobedience campaign was met with tear gas from the security forces. Many teachers carried banners stating “no, no to military rule” and slogans demanding a transition to “full civilian settlement” at a rally outside the Ministry of Education in Khartoum.

“We have organized a silent stand against the decisions of [Gen Al] Burhan in front of the Ministry of Education, ”said Mohamed Al Amin, a geography teacher who participated in the protest. “The police came later and fired tear gas at us as we were just standing in the streets carrying banners,” he said.

There have been no confirmed reports of casualties, but the SPA said around 87 teachers were arrested.

– Additional reporting by AFP

Update: November 7, 2021, 4:02 p.m.

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