Sudan army ruler says talks over civil rule suspended for 72 hours

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Sudan’s army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said in a statement broadcast live on state television that talks with protesters over installing civil rule have been suspended for 72 hours.

“We decided to suspend the negotiations over civil rule for 72 hours to help prepare an atmosphere for completing the deal,” Burhan said on Thursday, demanding that protesters dismantle roadblocks in Khartoum, open bridges connecting the capital and other regions and “stop provoking security forces.”

At least nine people were wounded when Sudanese forces used live ammunition to clear demonstrators from central Khartoum, a protest group said, and talks aimed at establishing a body to lead Sudan to democracy have been suspended indefinitely.

A spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), which spearheaded months of protests that led to the military’s removal of President Omar al-Bashir last month, said: “We hold the military council responsible for attacking civilians.”

“They are using the same methods as the previous regime in dealing with rebels,” SPA spokesman Amjad Farid told Reuters.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC), which took over after overthrowing and jailing Bashir, has said it would not tolerate the continued closure of main Khartoum roads and bridges by protesters but promised not to use force to disperse the sit-ins.

The TMC has accused demonstrators of expanding a protest site set up last month outside the Defense Ministry to other parts of the capital, disrupting movement.

Weeks of street protests that precipitated the end of Bashir’s 30-year rule on April 11 have continued as the opposition demands that the military hand over power to civilians.

A Reuters witness and Sudanese witnesses said that troops in military vehicles using the logo of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fired extensively as they tried to clear demonstrators on al-Mek Nimir Avenue in central Khartoum, near the Foreign Ministry.

“People were walking towards the barricades and they (security forces) were firing shots at them,” a 20-year-old demonstrator, who asked not to be named, said, showing a handful of empty bullet casings and referring to roadblocks set up by protesters.

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