Sudan’s military rulers faced pressure from demonstrators and Western governments to hand power to a new civilian government yesterday as activists warned of an attempt to disperse a 10-day old mass protest outside army headquarters. Thousands remained camped outside the complex in Khartoum overnight after protest leaders issued demands to the military council set up following the ouster of veteran president Omar al-Bashir.
The organization that spearheaded the months of protests leading to Bashir’s fall, the Sudanese Professionals Association, called on their supporters to boost the numbers at the complex. “There is an attempt to disperse the sit-in from the army headquarters area, they are trying to remove the barricades,” the SPA said in a statement, without saying who was responsible. “We call on our people to come immediately to the sit-in area to protect our revolution.”
Witnesses said several army vehicles had surrounded the area and that troops were seen removing the barricades which demonstrators had put up as a security measure. Britain’s ambassador to Khartoum, Irfan Siddiq, met the new military council’s deputy and stated his “top request was no violence and no attempt to forcibly break the sit-in”.
In the meeting with Mohammad Hamdan Daglo, widely known as Himeidti, Siddik wrote on Twitter that he also backed the SPA’s call for a civilian administration. The talks came a day after the embassies of Britain, the United States, and Norway issued a joint statement saying the “legitimate change” the Sudanese people demanded had not taken place.