Sudan’s opposition on Tuesday rejected a plan by its military rulers to hold elections within nine months, a day after the worst bout of violence since Omar al-Bashir was ousted as president in April. At least 35 people were killed on Monday when security forces stormed a protest camp outside the Defence Ministry in central Khartoum, according to doctors linked to the opposition. The military council that has ruled since Bashir’s overthrow afterwards cancelled all agreements with the main opposition alliance. But Madani Abbas Madani, a leader of the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) opposition alliance, said an open-ended civil disobedience campaign would continue to try to force the council from power. The opposition rejected all that Transitional Military Council (TMC) Head Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said in his statement, Madani told Reuters. “What happened, killing protesters, wounding and humiliation, was a systematic and planned matter to impose repression on the Sudanese people,” he said. The atmosphere in the capital Khartoum was very tense on Tuesday as many roads were barricaded by protesters, many shops were shut and streets were mostly empty. Security forces were trying to clear the barricades, a Reuters witness said. Rapid Support Forces vehicles were patrolling the streets in Omdurman, on the other side of the River Nile from Khartoum, and firing into the air. The leaders of protests that forced Bashir from power after three decades of authoritarian rule in April have demanded preparations for elections during a transitional period led by
Sudan’s military rulers and opposition agreed in principle on Saturday to the formation of a joint body to lead a transition from 30 years of autocratic rule by Omar al-Bashir, but not on the new council’s make-up, two sources said. The two sides were holding their first formal discussions as opposition groups and protesters push for a rapid handover to civilian rule following Bashir’s fall earlier this month. Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC), which ousted and arrested Bashir after months of protests, has said it will rule for up to two years ahead of elections.
Anti-Bashir opposition groups and protesters who have kept up a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry want a civilian-led transitional council with military representation. They continued their thousands-strong demonstration on Saturday evening.
“I came to support the sit-in for a civilian government because the army ruled Sudan since 52 years ago and the result is nothing,” said Nour el-Dayem Gaafar, a 23-year-old student from South Darfur state who had travelled by bus to the capital.