Protesters in Sudan reject UN post-coup mediation

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Some 3,000 protesters in Khartoum on Saturday rejected UN mediation efforts between civilian and military leaders as “foreign interference” and called for Islamist rule in Sudan, an AFP correspondent said.

A military coup led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan last year derailed a fragile transition to civilian rule after the 2019 ouster of long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

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For 12 months, near weekly anti-coup protests have been met with force, and efforts by the United Nations and other international actors to bring Sudan's military government and civilian leaders to the table have stalled.

The crowd that gathered Saturday in front of the headquarters of the UN mission in Sudan chanted pro-Bashir slogans and burned photos of UN envoy Volker Perthes.

“We are demonstrating for our dignity and our sovereignty. Volker has defiled our country,” protester Hafez Joubouri told AFP.

Another told AFP he wanted “the armed forces to side with the people and kick Volker out today.”

An AFP correspondent said some protesters chanted: Volker, you mole, we beheaded Gordon,” referring to British general Charles Gordon who was killed in an 1885 revolt in Sudan.

With police standing nearby, some demonstrators waved banners reading “No to foreign interference” and “No to the UN,” an AFP correspondent said.

The crowd later dispersed without incident.

The country has been grappling with deepening political unrest and a spiraling economic crisis since Burhan seized power on October 25, 2021, and arrested the civilian leaders with whom he had agreed to share power.

Civilian leaders have refused to negotiate with the military before it commits to a timetable for full withdrawal from power.

Pro-democracy activists worry that Burhan’s regime has reappointed Bashir loyalists to official positions, including in the judiciary that is now trying the former dictator.

On Thursday, security forces had fired tear gas at thousands of demonstrators demanding an end to military rule.

The crackdown on anti-coup protests has killed at least 119 people, according to pro-democracy medics.

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