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Sudan - protests

Change afoot in Sudan military government, but still no civilian rule

People chant slogans as a young man recites a poem illuminated by mobile phones, in Khartoum, June 19, 2019
People chant slogans as a young man recites a poem illuminated by mobile phones, in Khartoum, June 19, 2019 AFP/Yasuyoshi CHIBA

Protests have started again in Sudan, as the military government sacked and replaced the prosecutor general, saying it had identified the mastermind behind the crackdown on protesters resulting in 128 deaths.

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The Sudanese Professionals Association, one of the original groups organising protests late last year, have reportedly called on supporters to continue night protests so that those who are employed can participate after their working day.

Protests were reportedly in Port Sudan, an important economic city, as well as Al-Obeid, Madani, and in the eastern town of Kassala were carried out on Thursday.

Dozens of workers in private and public companies in Khartoum and from government offices, including the oil and information ministries, also rallied on Thursday, gathering silently outside their offices. Witnesses said employees from the country’s largest bank, the Bank of Khartoum, chanted “Civilian!” and waved Sudanese flags.

The Sudan Doctors Committee, one of the original protest groups, said that security forces arrested health ministry employees for coming out and protesting.

State media announced Abdallah Ahmed will replace Al-Waleed Sayyed Ahmed as prosecutor general, without citing why he was being replaced. The change comes at a crucial time as deposed strongman Omar al-Bashir was brought to court on corruption charges and possession of foreign currency last Sunday.

Crackdown mastermind identified

The ruling military council said it had addressed calls for an investigation into the crackdown of a sit-in camp outside Khartoum's military headquarters early this month that killed 128 people. The council said it had identified the mastermind behind the raid. The military puts the death toll at 61.

Deputy military council chief General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo would not identify the suspect, saying “there’s no need to impact the investigation”. 

"Whoever it is, whether from regular forces or a civilian, will be brought to trial. The investigation will be transparent and the trial will be public," he added.

Protesters said that men in military uniforms violently dispersed them at the sit-in, shooting and beating those who did not immediately comply. The ruling council denied it had ordered the sit-in breakup, but said it ordered a nearby area to be cleared, claiming that “criminals” were selling drugs there.

Protesters are calling for Sudan to return to civilian rule, and have reiterated they are willing to resume talks with the military council on the transition of power, but with certain conditions. They demand an end to the internet blackout that began earlier this month, an international investigation into the protester extra-judicial killings, and that earlier agreements with the generals before the crackdown be honoured.

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