Thousands of people across Sudan demonstrate in favor of civilian rule

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Thousands of people protested in the capital Khartoum and other Sudanese cities in support of a civilian-led transition to democracy on Thursday following a coup attempt last week.

The attempt, which officials blamed on soldiers loyal to the previous regime of Omar al-Bashir, laid bare divisions between military and civilian groups sharing power during a transition that is meant to run to 2023 and lead to elections.

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Many protesters came from outside Khartoum by bus and train from the cities of Atbara and Madani, as they did during protests against military rule just after Bashir’s removal.

Some of the thousands waiting for the trains chanted “the army is Sudan’s army, not Burhan’s army,” in reference to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, leader of Sudan’s military and its ruling sovereign council.

In the days and hours after the coup attempt, civilian officials accused the military of overstepping its bounds, while generals criticized civilian management of the economy and political process, and said their forces were neglected and disrespected.

The military removed Bashir in April 2019 after months of popular protests triggered by an ongoing economic crisis. It then signed a power-sharing deal with the civilian Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition.

The FFC supported Thursday’s demonstrations, which were converging on the central Khartoum headquarters of a task force working to dismantle the Bashir regime.

On Sunday, the military rescinded its protection of the task force. Its leaders responded by saying their headquarters would be a war room for any upcoming showdown.

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