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Pressure mounts on Sudan military to transfer to civilian rule

15 April 2019

Demonstrators have staged a sit-in outside the main army headquarters as part of protests against longtime President Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted by the military last week after three decades in power.

An officer is heard saying they came to "clean" the area.

The organization that spearheaded the months of protests leading to Bashir's fall, the Sudanese Professionals Association, called on their supporters to boost the numbers at the complex.

"We hope that everyone will head immediately to the areas of the sit-in to protect your revolution and your accomplishments", the SPA said.

Earlier the military council met with political parties and urged them to agree on an "independent figure" to be prime minister, an AFP correspondent present at the meeting said.

The AU echoed the protesters' demands, calling the military intervention a "coup d'Etat, which (the PSC) strongly condemns".

But in a press conference later, the council's spokesman did not respond to the protesters' latest demands, although he did announce the appointment of a new intelligence chief of the NISS.

The foreign ministry urged the worldwide community to back the military council "to achieve the Sudanese goal of democratic transition".

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Al Jazeera's Mohamed Vall, reporting from Khartoum, said the recent concessions by Sudan's military rulers had failed to win over protesters, many of whom remain distrustful of the higher echelons of the country's armed forces due to their historical links to al-Bashir's former administration.

"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.

Dagalo, known by his nickname Hemedti, heads Sudan's Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which human rights groups have accused of widespread abuses in the western region of Darfur.

Al-Burhan has also vowed to restructure state institutions and "uproot the [Bashir] regime and its symbols" - but has also said that the transition to civilian rule could take up to two years. 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.

On Saturday, Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, the head of the military council, pledged large-scale political and economic reforms.

Protest leaders have called for the feared intelligence agency, whose chief Salah Gosh resigned on Saturday, to be restructured and for NISS officials to face prosecution.

The SPA has also called for the confiscation of properties belonging to the ousted president's National Congress Party and the release of soldiers who sided with their movement.

Pressure mounts on Sudan military to transfer to civilian rule