Hundreds rally in Sudan capital for protest ‘martyrs’

KHARTOUM: Hundreds of Sudanese demonstrators marched in the capital on Thursday towards a prominent square to honour comrades killed in the months-long protest movement that has rocked the northeast African country.
The rallies came a day after protest leaders and army rulers inked a power sharing deal to form a joint civilian-military body tasked with installing a civilian administration — the main demand of demonstrators.
Witnesses said men and women chanting revolutionary slogans and waving Sudanese flags headed towards the Green Yard, a prominent square in Khartoum, heeding calls from a key protest group.
“The rallies are a tribute to those honourable martyrs of the December revolution,” the Sudanese Professionals Association said in a statement.
“Civilian rule, Civilian rule,” and “Freedom, peace, justice,” the crowds chanted as they headed to the square, witnesses said.
The SPA spearheaded the initial campaign that erupted in December against the government of now ousted leader Omar al Bashir over its decision to triple the price of bread.
Those protests swiftly escalated into a nationwide movement that led to the army overthrow of Bashir in April.
But protesters continued taking to the streets against the ruling generals who seized power after deposing Bashir.
More than 200 people been killed since December in protest-related violence, according to doctors close to the movement.
Tensions between the generals and protesters surged after a June 3 raid on a longstanding Khartoum sit-in that led to deaths of dozens of demonstrators.
On Wednesday the protesters and generals finally agreed a deal that paves the way for a transitional civilian administration that would govern for just over three years.
The talks, however, are set to continue on Friday as the two sides push to sort out remaining issues.
Earlier, Sudan’s protesters and ruling generals on Wednesday inked a deal that aims to install a civilian administration, a key demand of demonstrators since president Bashir was deposed in a coup three months ago.
The move loosens a deadlock that has gripped the country, following nationwide mass protests that began against Bashir in December but then continued after a military council ousted him on April 11.
The unrest has also left scores dead, with more than 100 killed in a June 3 crackdown on a protest sit-in according to doctors close to demonstrators.
The deputy chief of the military council General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo — who initialled the deal on behalf of the generals on Wednesday — said the agreement was a “historic moment” for Sudan.
It has “opened a new and promising era of partnership between the armed forces, RSF (Rapid Support Forces) and leaders of the glorious Sudanese revolution,” Dagalo said in Khartoum after he had put pen to paper.
Dagalo also heads the RSF, a feared paramilitary organisation that has its origins in the Janjaweed militias unleashed against African rebels during the early 2000s in Darfur.
Ibrahim al Amin, a key protest leader, confirmed “today, we completed the political declaration.”
Intense talks took place through the night over details of the political declaration at a luxury hotel on the bank of the Nile river, a correspondent reported.
As the generals stepped out of the hall after signing the deal, a small crowd — including women waving the national flag — chanted “civilian rule, civilian rule.” — AFP