Sudan’s military rulers condemn attack on Islamist party

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Sudanese protest leaders held talks with the ruling military council on Sunday after the military condemned an attack on an Islamist party close to former president Omar al-Bashir, who was removed from power and jailed earlier this month.

Dozens of protesters gathered Saturday outside a building where the Popular Congress Party was holding a meeting, chanting: “No place for Islamists.”

The state-run SUNA news agency quoted party leader Idriss Suliman as saying that at least 64 party members were wounded in clashes with the protesters.

The party was established in the late 1990s by Hassan al-Turabi, the Sudanese Islamist who played a key role in the 1989 coup that brought al-Bashir to power.

The military removed al-Bashir from office April 11 amid four months of mass protests. A military council has said it will rule the country for up to two years until elections can be organized.

The Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a coalition of opposition groups led by the Sudanese Professionals Association, is pushing for a quicker transition. They have called for a transitional council that would include limited army representation. The protesters fear that the military will cling to power or cut a deal with other parties to leave much of al-Bashir’s regime intact.

The military has said it is open to “proportional” civilian representation in its council and the granting of executive powers to civilians. It has said it is consulting with all political factions except for al-Bashir’s National Congress Party on the way forward.

The protesters suspended talks with the military a week ago but resumed the negotiations on Wednesday as three officials seen as too close to al-Bashir resigned from the military council.

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