Sudanese renew talks with army, call for new protests

Publication date: 
May 13 2019
Sudanese protesters resumed negotiations with the army on Monday while calling for renewed demonstrations to press the generals to hand over power to a civilian government.
The military removed President Omar al-Bashir from power in April after four months of mass protests, but the demonstrators have remained in the streets, demanding the dismantling of his regime. In recent weeks they have threatened a general strike and civil disobedience.
Lt. Gen. Shams al-Deen al-Kabashi, a spokesman for the military council, said Monday's meeting, the first in over a week, was held "in a more optimistic atmosphere."
The protesters are represented by the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition of opposition groups led by the Sudanese Professionals Association , which has spearheaded the protests since December.
The protesters said late Sunday that they hope to secure commitments to a swift transfer of power in the three-day talks.
The military agreed last month to recognize the FDFC as the uprising's only legitimate representative in a victory for the protesters. But the generals have called for other political parties — with the exception of al-Bashir's National Congress Party — to be included in the transition.
The opposition has vowed to continue protests, centered on a sit-in outside the military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum. It has called for a series of nationwide protests, including another march to the main sit-in, for the coming week.
The two sides remain divided over what role the military, which is dominated by al-Bashir appointees, should have in the transition period until elections can be held. The military wants to play a leading role in a transition lasting up to two years, while the protesters have demanded an immediate transition to a civilian-led authority.
The protesters fear the army will cling to power or select one of its own to succeed al-Bashir. They also fear that Islamists and other factions close to the deposed leader, who is now jailed in Khartoum, will be granted a role in the transition.