Huge crowds gather in Sudan to demand civilian rule

Huge crowds gather in Sudan to demand civilian rule

Following months of protests, the army ousted long-standing leader Omar al-Bashir last week.

The SPA has urged all parties to nominate leaders for a civilian transitional council.

Protest leaders announced on Friday plans to unveil a civilian body to take over from the military council as Washington said it would send an envoy to encourage the transition.

The military rulers have agreed to this but still, refuse the call by the protestors to hand over power to a civilian administration of 13 ministers and a 120-member parliament.

The Sudan Professionals Association claims leadership of the protests.

Protests first broke out on Dec 19 in response to the tripling of bread prices, swiftly turning into nationwide rallies against Mr Bashir's three-decade rule.

Access roads were packed, with crowds flocking to huge square outside army headquarters to offer the weekly Muslim prayers.

"This government should be a representative of all the people and their aspirations", said prominent cleric Sheikh Mater Younis as he addressed thousands of protesters. "The will of the Sudanese people is clear".

The council on Monday gave Sudan 15 days to allow a civilian-led transitional government or face suspension in the African Union.

The Sudanese military is also trying to stay neutral in a feud between a bloc of Saudi-led Arab nations and Qatar. They want a public trial for all the crimes he committed in Darfur, says Noor, for the genocide and killing protesters.

General Ibn Ouf stepped down in less than 24 hours and was replaced by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who so far has appeased protesters by lifting a night-time curfew and vowing to "uproot" Mr Bashir's circle.

The crowds, which late on Thursday had grown to their largest this week as protesters tried to increase pressure on the transitional council, swelled once more on Friday evening.

The military has given in to several of the protesters' demands, including saying they can name a prime minister and transferring Mr Bashir to a maximum security prison.

Makila James, the deputy assistant secretary of state who is in charge of eastern Africa, will head to Khartoum this weekend, an official said.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Sudan remained labeled by the U.S. as a state sponsor of terrorism, and emphasized that Washington's policies toward Sudan would be based on "our assessment of events on the ground and the actions of transitional authorities".

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