Sudan protesters block attempt to break up sit

Mohamed At

The African Union (AU) on Monday threatened to suspend Sudan following last week's coup that saw Omar al-Bashir ousted by the military after almost three decades in power.

"The decision whether to extradite [Bashir] to ICC will be made by a popularly elected government and not the transitional military council", military council member Jalaluddin Sheikh told journalists during a visit to the Ethiopian capital.

It demanded the dissolution of paramilitary groups that were loyal to the old government, and of the National Intelligence and Security Service's (NISS) operations authority, and called for an end to Sudan's press law and the public order law, which they have said restricts freedoms.

The council's deputy head General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo said in a statement to SUNA: "We are adhering to our commitment to the coalition, and our forces will remain until the coalition fulfils its goals", Reuters news agency reported on Monday. "We appeal to everyone to head to the area to protect your revolution and gains".

Sudanese protesters demanded new military rulers set up a civilian government as the foreign ministry called Sunday for backing from the worldwide community to help the country's "democratic transition".

The organisation 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.

The sit-in outside the compound, which also includes the intelligence headquarters and the presidential residence, began on April 6, after more than three months of protests triggered by a deepening economic crisis.

"For us in the SPA, in the first stage, the transitional government stage, we will play a role in the restoration of the civil service and state institutions and establishing a democratic state", said Gamaria Omar, an SPA member.

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In a joint statement by their embassies on Sunday, they warned against any use of violence to break up the protests, and said the "legitimate change" the Sudanese people demanded had not taken place.

Below are their key demands, which the umbrella group Alliance for Freedom and Change says must to be met for the sit-in to end.

Sudan's Defense minister, Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, said a transitional military council will run the government for the next two years.

The council has pledged a two-year transition period and also said it would not send Bashir or any other Sudanese citizen to the ICC.

"We want to set up a civilian state based on freedom, justice and democracy", a council member, Lieutenant General Yasser al-Ata, told several political parties, urging them to agree on the figures to sit in civilian government.

Al-Bashir, who came to power in an Islamist coup in 1989, imposed a nationwide state of emergency February 22 in an attempt to suppress the protests after an initial crackdown failed.

The SPA also demanded the confiscation of properties belonging to al-Bashir's National Congress Party and the release of soldiers who sided with their "revolution".

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