Thousands of Sudanese rally for faster reform after Bashir ouster

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Hartoum – Tens of thousands demonstrated on Tuesday in Sudanese cities despite a coronavirus lockdown to demand greater civilian rule in the transition towards democracy after the ouster of veteran strongman Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

Waving Sudanese flags, protesters gathered in Khartoum and its twin cities Khartoum North and Omdurman after the government closed roads and bridges leading to the centre of the capital.

Similar protests took also place in Kassala in eastern Sudan and in the restive region of Darfur. They chanted “freedom, peace and justice”, the slogan of the anti-Bashir movement. Some protesters blocked streets with burning tyres.

Premier Abdalla Hamdok, a technocrat, governs the country in awkward tandem with the long dominant military that helped remove Bashir after mass protests against his 30-year autocracy.

An opposition coalition agreed to joint governance with the military in a two-year transition towards free elections but key parts of the deal have not been implemented, such as appointing civilian state governors and establishing a parliament.

Hamdok’s government has been preoccupied with a worsening economic crisis that has seen a plunge in Sudan’s pound currency diving and annual inflation topping 100 per cent.

Last week, foreign donor nations pledged 1.8 billion dollars at a conference hosted by Germany to help Sudan overcome the economic crisis hampering its transition. But the pledges were well below the eight billion dollars in aid Hamdok has said is needed.

The crisis has been compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, which has diverted the resources of many donors.

(Reuters/NAN)


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