Conflicts & War

Sudanese demand action on promised reforms

Khartoum, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- Thousands gathered in Sudan’s capital on Monday to demand that the provisional military government deliver on reforms promised a year ago following the ouster of long-time strongman Omar al-Bashir.

The mobilization coincided with the one-year anniversary of the signing by the military and leaders of the popular movement of an agreement meant to serve as the roadmap for a 39-month transition to democracy.

Protesters advocated changes to political and judicial institutions, trials of figures from the al-Bashir regime and action to secure justice for the families of the “martyrs” slain by security forces during the popular uprising that began in 2018.

Some held placards with slogans such as “Peace is a priority,” alluding to stalled negotiations with armed rebel groups in various parts of the country.

“No stability without parliament” was the message of other protesters unhappy about the failure to establish the Legislative Council that was supposed to be the third pillar of the transition.

The other two pillars mandated by the Aug. 17, 2019, pact: a Sovereignty Council comprising both military officers and civilians; and a Council of Ministers, have been up and running for some time.

Organized by the Resistance Committees that formed during the uprising, protesters marched to the seat of government in central Khartoum hoping to present a memorandum to the prime minister, Abdullah Hamdok.

But police deployed tear gas to disperse the group after they refused to hand over the document to one of Hamdok’s aides.

Hamdok acknowledged earlier Monday the need to complete the pending items from the August 2019 accord, including the formation of the Legislative Council, achieving peace and delivering justice for the victims of the dictatorship.

At the same time, however, he pointed to the appointment of civilian governors for Sudan’s states as “a step towards the completion of the construction of a civil state.”

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which played an important role in the overthrow of al-Bashir, called the police response to Monday’s protest “unacceptable.”

“All the escalation options” are on the table after this “provocation and violation,” the association said in a statement.

EFE az-se-fc/ta/dr

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