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Huge crowds march in Sudan in support of civilian rule

<i>ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images</i><br/>Protesters marched through the streets chanting anti-military slogans and waving flags.
AFP via Getty Images
ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images
Protesters marched through the streets chanting anti-military slogans and waving flags.

By Yasir Abdullah and Mostafa Salem, CNN

Throngs of Sudanese protesters took to the streets on Thursday to voice their support for civilian rule within the country’s power-sharing government.

Demonstrators marched through the streets of the capital, Khartoum, chanting anti-military slogans and waving flags. Pro-civilian protests were also held in other Sudanese cities Thursday, Reuters news agency reported.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, a body which helped organize the 2019 Sudan uprising, said demonstrators protesting against the military were met with tear gas at the parliament gates in Omdurman. The organization said in a statement that the tear gas was “intended to provoke and push for violence” but called on their supporters to remain peaceful.

“There is no retreat from the streets until the handover of power,” it said.

Military and civilian groups have been sharing power in the east African country in an uneasy alliance, dubbed the Sovereign Council, since the toppling of long-standing President Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

These protests were organized in response to another group of demonstrators who have staged a sit-in at the Presidential Palace since Saturday calling for the Sudanese military to dissolve the government and assume power.

Mohamed Al Fekki, a civilian leader, told CNN that pro-civilian protesters were calling for the preservation of the democratic transition and the values of the revolution that were gained after the 2019 uprising.

“We are all moving to support a democratic transition and to deliver an elected government [to the people],” he said.

The military headquarters were cordoned off from the protests, but little security was observed among the protesters, a CNN reporter said. Trucks carrying protesters arrived in the Freedom Square in the capital.

Plumes of smoke could be seen as protesters burned tires and waved Sudanese flags, Reuters reported.

The protests took place on the anniversary of the country’s 1964 October Revolution and were preceded by days of smaller neighborhood protests, the news agency said. The military says it is committed to the transition to democracy and elections at the end of 2023.

A military coup d’état attempt failed in Sudan in late September and most of the involved officers were arrested, further straining the shaky transition coalition.

“We encourage demonstrators to be peaceful and remind them of the strong US support for Sudan’s democratic transition,” the US Embassy in Khartoum tweeted Wednesday, ahead of the protests.

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Yasir Abdullah reported from Khartoum and Mostafa Salem from Abu Dhabi.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Europe/Mideast/Africa

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