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Sudanese army leaders declare resumption of civil talks as Islamists protest



The talks between the Sudanese military council and protesters are expected to resume, army leaders said on Saturday as hundreds of sympathizers of Islamist movements mobilized for the inclusion of Sharia law in the political route of the country.

The ruling military council announced that "negotiations with the Alliance for Freedom and Change" regarding the planned transfer of power to a new governing body would resume Sunday.

This announcement follows pressure from major world powers to return the military and the protesters' co-ordination group to the negotiating table after the failure to discuss the composition of the new governing body. Wednesday.

Talks have repeatedly failed, with protesters urging the military council to cede power to a civilian regime since the overthrow of autocratic president Omar al-Bashir on April 11.

Representatives of the United States, the United Nations, the African Union and the European powers have called for "an agreement as soon as possible on a truly civilian-led interim government that reflects the will of the Sudanese people", Tibor Nagy, US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, tweeted Friday.

The protesters responded to a key demand from the head of the military council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in recent days, dismantling roadblocks that paralyzed part of the capital.

The generals allowed the protesters to sit in front of the Khartoum army headquarters, where thousands of people remain encamped to demand a swift transition to democracy.

Before suspending talks this week, the two sides agreed on several key issues, including a three-year transition period and the creation of a 300-member parliament, with two-thirds of the MPs expected to come from the group of coordination of protesters.

& # 39; Door of Hell & # 39;

Proponents of Sudanese Islamist movements hold their phones in the air chanting slogans at a rally in front of the presidential palace on Saturday. By MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (AFP) Proponents of Sudanese Islamist movements hold their phones in the air chanting slogans at a rally in front of the presidential palace on Saturday. By MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (AFP)

But the Sudanese Islamist movements – fearing that the nascent transition plans will exclude them – organized their own demonstration Saturday in front of the presidential palace in downtown Khartoum.

Hundreds of people took part in the demonstration, the first mobilization organized by Islamist groups since the ouster of Bashir.

"The main reason for the mobilization is that the alliance (the main coordinating group of protesters) ignores the application of sharia law in its deal," said Al-Tayieb Mustafa, who heads a coalition of 39, about 20 Islamic groups.

"It is irresponsible and if this agreement is reached, it will open the door to hell in Sudan," he told AFP before the rally.

At the rally, men and women chanted slogans supporting Sharia law in front of the presidential palace's garden, an AFP correspondent said.

"The solution lies in religion!" some chanted slogans while others shouted: "No to communism, no to atheism!"

"We are here to support Islamic Sharia law and say no to secular law," said Younus Ali, dressed in a traditional Sudanese dress.

The demonstrators presented their evening prayers at the meeting place and then broke their Ramadan fast from sunrise to sunset before resuming their songs.

& # 39; Great mistake & # 39;

Bashir came to power following a coup d 'état backed by Islamists in 1989 and Sudanese law is now governed by Islamic law.

But activists say that Sharia law has been applied inconsistently during his reign.

Thousands of women have been flogged for "indecent behavior," women's rights activists said.

Until now, the Alliance for Freedom and Change has kept silent about Sharia's place in the future of Sudan, saying its main concern now is to set up an administration. civil.

The main protest movement brings together a wide range of political, social and rebel groups.

Deputy Chief of the Military Council, Mohamed Hamadan Dagalo, said Saturday that "people have been arrested" for shooting protesters this week near the current sit-in in front of the army headquarters.

The protesters accused the paramilitary group of Dagalo, the fast-supporting forces – long close to Bashir – of firing on five protesters and an army commander.

But Dagalo did not say whether the RSF staff had been arrested.

Some fear that the protest group is campaigning for a secular Sudan.

Sudanese army soldiers deployed outside the presidential palace in downtown Khartoum. By MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (AFP) Sudanese army soldiers deployed outside the presidential palace in downtown Khartoum. By MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (AFP)

"Islam is an integral part of the identity of the majority of the Sudanese people," Sadeq al-Mahdi, the main opposition figure in Sudan and former prime minister, told AFP. Minister, in a recent interview.

He said it was a "big mistake" for some opposition members to "talk about secularism".

On Friday, dozens of faithful organized spontaneous demonstrations in Khartoum after weekly prayers and criticized the protest movement.

"The Alliance for Freedom and Change wants to … build what they call a new Sudan, a Sudan without religion, a secular Sudan," Radical religious Abdelhai Yusef said in his Friday sermon , according to a video posted on his Facebook page.

"That's why we say a thousand times no to this agreement.We want a Sudan that is for everyone."

And at Saturday's rally, another radical cleric, Mohamed Ali Jazuli, issued a warning to the military council.

"If you plan to transfer power to a certain faction, we will consider it a coup d'etat," he promised.


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