Thousands march for reforms in Sudan

A group of people on a march

A group of people on a march

KHARTOUM, July 1 (NNN-AGENCIES) — Thousands of people are marching in cities and towns across Sudan, demanding greater political reforms.

Civil society groups say the protest is intended to make sure the goals of last year’s revolution, which deposed Omar al-Bashir as president, are achieved.

Security forces have been deployed in the capital, Khartoum, and neighbouring towns as well as on major roads leading to the army headquarters.

Crowds have gathered singing and chanting, blaring car horns and carrying placards.

These are scenes similar to the ones during months of protests which ended Bashir’s decades-long rule and led to the formation of a joint civilian and military government.

But there is growing concern that the country’s hopes for political reform and true civilian rule will not be met.

The protesters want corruption stamped out, justice for those killed under Bashir’s rule and after him, as well as for a promised parliament to be set up.

On the eve of the demonstrations Sudan’s civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok addressed the nation and promised that key reforms would be announced in the coming days.

“You will be hearing consecutively in the coming days a number of key decisions for the course of the transitional period. Some of them could have a major political, economic, and social effect,” the premier said in a national address Monday night.

He and other leaders are under pressure to deliver, especially as the country battles with rising food and fuel prices and a coronavirus outbreak which has killed more than 500 people and stifled economic activity.

On Monday, government spokesman Faisal Mohamed Saleh said the authorities arrested nine agents from the old regime as they prepared to carry out “hostile activities”. It is not clear whether the arrests are related to the protests.

Sudan also arrested former foreign minister and leader of the defunct National Congress Party (NCP) Ibrahim Ghandour ahead of protests but no reason was given, the private al-Sayha newspaper said.

The party had said it will not take part in today’s protests, which also mark the anniversary of the coup that brought Bashir into power. — NNN-AGENCIES