Sudan army orders protesters to dismantle barricades following failed talks

Sudan army orders protesters to dismantle barricades following failed talks
Sudanese protesters have vowed to continue their demonstrations in Khartoum despite orders from the government
2 min read
22 April, 2019
Sudanese protesters are calling for the installation of a civilian government [AFP]

Sudan's new army rulers on Monday ordered protesters to dismantle their barricades on roads leading to the military headquarters as talks between the two sides broke down.

Protesters have accused the ruling military council of being little different from recently-deposed ruler Omar al-Bashir, who was topped by the army on April 11 following months of street protests.

Many have vowed to remain at the checkpoints they have set up every few metres across the roads leading to the protest site in central Khartoum.

"We will carry on manning the checkpoints as usual," 23-year-old demonstrator Kawthar Hasaballah told AFP.

"No one, not even the military council, will remove us from our places."

The demand to reopen roads came a day after rally leaders suspended talks with the ten-member council about their main demand to transfer power to a civilian administration.

Protest leaders had planned to name on Sunday members of a civilian body to take over from the military rulers but by nightfall it was clear it would not happen.

"We are suspending our talks with the military council," spokesman Mohamed al-Amin told the tens of thousands of protesters gathered at the army complex.

"We call for escalating and continuing the demonstrations until the demands are met," he said.

"We are treating the military council as an extension of the regime."

Initial jubilation at the end of Bashir's three decades of iron-fisted rule quickly turned to anger on the streets about the military council's plan to rule for a two-year transition period.

Protesters have massed outside the army complex since 6 April, putting up barricades on roads leading to the area as well as checkpoints to frisk people coming to the rally.

"The roads have to be opened immediately to facilitate the movement of trains, and all means of transport in the capital and other states so as to help movement of essential items," the military council said in a statement.

On Sunday Sudan's new military ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan voiced dissatisfaction with protesters setting up checkpoints and searching those who come to the sit-in.

"It can't continue like this because security is the responsibility of the state," Burhan said.

But he insisted that the army rulers were "committed to give power to (the) people", and pledged to respond to the demonstrators' demands within a week.