Sudanese military forced to abandon attempt to clear protesters

Mohamed At

14 2017 is sacked Khartoum's envoy to Washington Mohamed Ata

Sudan's military rulers faced pressure from demonstrators and Western governments to hand power to a new civilian government Monday as activists warned of an attempt to disperse a 10-day-old mass protest outside army headquarters.

The Sudanese group that led protests against deposed President Omar al-Bashir called on Monday for the transitional military council that has taken power to be disbanded and for a new interim civilian ruling council to be formed.

Some members of the former government in Sudan have been arrested by the transitional military council which is now running the country, according to reports coming out of the country on Monday morning.

SPA representatives also renewed their calls for the head of the judiciary and his deputies and the public prosecutor to be removed.

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This dialogue needs to be done "credibly and swiftly", it said, adding that Sudan needs a political system that is inclusive and respectful of human rights and the rule of law.

There were no clashes and no one was hurt in the attempted dispersal, but the incident renewed concerns that the military could renege on its promises not to use force against the peaceful demonstrators.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, a group of teachers, engineers and doctors that initially spearheaded the campaign, has urged protesters to continue with the sit-in "until the revolution's demands are met".

"We appeal to all to move immediately to the protest camp to protect the revolution and its gains", it said in a statement.

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Footage circulating online showed hundreds of troops outside the headquarters, and an officer is heard saying they came to "clean" the area. In some videos the protesters chant "Revolution", as well as slogans against al-Bashir's Islamist supporters.

"Top request was no violence and no attempt to forcibly break the sit-in", said Siddiq. The foreign ministry said military council head General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan was "committed to having a complete civilian government" and urged other nations to back the council in order to achieve "the Sudanese goal of democratic transition".

Since his ouster, al-Bashir - president for almost 30 years - has been under house arrest in Khartoum. The military high command has offered the protest leaders the opportunity to name a prime minister, Al Jazeera reported on Sunday. Lt. Gen. Shamseldin Kibashi said in televised remarks that the military had begun to overhaul the security apparatus and wouldn't break up the demonstrations outside the military headquarters.

The United States, Britain and Norway urged the military council and other parties to hold talks over the country's transition to civilian rule.

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The protests against al-Bashir gained further momentum after Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power for 20 years, resigned earlier this month in response to weeks of similar protests.

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