Sudan protest leaders say accord with army on transitional authority

2019-05-14 05:16
Picture: AFP

Picture: AFP

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Sudan's protest leaders said on Monday they have reached a breakthrough agreement with the country's military rulers on transitional authorities to run the country.

The news came shortly after the prosecutor general's office said ousted president Omar al-Bashir had been charged over the killings of protesters during anti-regime demonstrations that led to the end of his rule.

"At today's meeting we agreed on the structure of the authorities and their powers," Taha Osman, a spokesman for the protest movement, told AFP.

"The authorities are as follows -- the sovereign council, the cabinet and the legislative body," he said.

Osman said another meeting would be held on Tuesday "to discuss the period of transition and the composition of the authorities".

The crucial talks between Sudan's army rulers and protest leaders over handing power to a civilian administration follow a deadlock in negotiations.

The apparent breakthrough came as Sudan's acting prosecutor general Al-Waleed Sayyed Ahmed said Bashir "and others have been charged for inciting and participating in the killing of demonstrators".

The charges form part of an investigation into the death of a medic killed during a protest in the capital's eastern district of Burri, his office said in a statement.

Ninety protesters were killed in protest-related violence after demonstrations erupted in December over a government decision to triple the price of bread, a doctors' committee linked to the protest movement said last month.

The official death toll is 65.

Protesters wounded 

Mass protests which drove longtime leader Bashir from office on April 11 are still being held outside the army headquarters in central Khartoum, vowing to force the ruling military council to cede power.

Protest leaders Omar al-Digeir and Satea al-Haj were among those who attended the talks on Monday on behalf of the Alliance for Freedom and Change, a spokeswoman for the umbrella group, Mashar Darraj, told AFP.

The meeting was held behind closed doors at a convention centre in central Khartoum.

Prior to the meeting, dozens of protesters blocked Nile Street, a major avenue in the city, for the second consecutive day, an AFP correspondent reported.

Pressing their demand for a handover to civilian rule, protesters also blocked a road leading to the capital's northern district of Bahari.

Three protesters were wounded by "live ammunition" when security personnel tried to dismantle blockades put by demonstrators in parts of the capital, a doctors' committee linked to the protest movement said in a statement.

On Sunday, protesters blocked Nile Street after police stopped them from going from that road to the sit-in outside the army complex that has been staged since April 6.

The military council had slammed the blocking of the avenue.

"It is totally unacceptable what is happening on Nile Street as it creates chaos and makes life difficult for citizens," the council said late on Sunday.

'Optimistic atmosphere' 

Following a deadlock in negotiations, the protest alliance on Saturday said the army generals had invited the movement for a new round of talks.

The generals in earlier talks had proposed the new council be led by the military, while the protest leaders want a majority civilian body.

Late last month, the alliance - which brings together protest organisers, opposition parties and rebel groups - handed the generals its proposals for a civilian-led transitional government.

But the generals pointed to what they call "many reservations" over the alliance's roadmap.

They have singled out its silence on the constitutional position of Islamic sharia law, which was the guiding principle of all legislation under Bashir's rule.

Demonstrators converged on the military complex last month seeking the army's help in ousting Bashir.

Days later the army ousted the veteran leader, but a 10-member military council took power and demonstrators have kept up their sit-in against the generals.

Although crowds have dwindled during the day due to the scorching heat, protesters gather in their thousands after breaking the daytime fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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Read more on:    omar al-bashir  |  sudan  |  east africa
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