Connect with us

World

Sudanese set for nationwide protests against military coup

Published

on

October 29, 2021

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Opponents of a military coup in Sudan have called for nationwide protests on Saturday to demand the restoration of a civilian-led government to put the country back on a path to democracy after decades of authoritarian rule.

    Thousands of Sudanese have already taken to the streets this week against the coup led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who dissolved Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s cabinet in a coup that has led Western states to freeze hundreds of millions in aid.

    With at least 11 protesters killed in clashes with security forces this week, opponents of the junta fear a full-blown crackdown and more bloodshed.

Advertisement

    “The army should go back to its barracks and give the leadership to Hamdok,” said an activist who gave his name as Mohamed, who plans to protest. “Our demand is a civilian country, a democratic country, nothing less than that.”

    The United States, which is calling for the restoration of the civilian-led government, said how the army reacts on Saturday will be a test of its intentions.

    “We call on the security forces to refrain from any and all violence against protesters and to fully respect the citizens’ right to demonstrate peacefully,” said a senior State Department official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity.

    With internet and phone lines restricted by the authorities, opponents of the coup have sought to mobilise for the protest using fliers, SMS messages, graffiti, and neighbourhood rallies.

    Neighbourhood-based resistance committees, active since the uprising against deposed President Omar al-Bashir that began in December 2018, have been central to organising despite the arrests of key politicians.

Advertisement

    Bashir, who ran Sudan for nearly three decades, was deposed by the army following months of protests against his rule. 

(For a timeline, please see) 

    Khartoum committee activist Hussam Ibnauf said the protest date had been well-advertised and he was confident of a big turnout.

“Everyone on the street … they know about October 30. If they know, the rest is easy,” he said.

There was now “no fear factor”, he said.

Advertisement

    NO DEBT RELIEF

    Burhan has said he removed the cabinet to avert civil war after civilian politicians stoked hostility to the armed forces.

    He says he is still committed to a democratic transition, including elections in July 2023.

    Hamdok, an economist, was initially held at Burhan’s residence when soldiers rounded up the government on Monday, but was allowed to return home under guard on Tuesday.

    The U.S. State Department official said he was, however, still under house arrest and unable to resume his work.

Advertisement

    The U.S. official said tens of billions of dollars of debt relief sought by Sudan would not happen as long as the army was attempting to direct Sudan unilaterally. The United States and the World Bank have already frozen assistance to Sudan, where an economic crisis has seen shortages of basic goods including food and medicine and where nearly a third of the population are in need of urgent humanitarian support.

    Several mediation efforts have emerged but there has been no sign of progress towards a compromise.

    Western states are not looking to engage with the military or mediate any negotiation until detainees are released and the army shows commitment to power-sharing as set out in a transitional constitutional declaration, a Western diplomat said.

    Many Sudanese opponents of the coup oppose a compromise with an army of which they are deeply mistrustful following several coups since independence in 1956.

    Friction had been mounting between the civilian government and the army leading up to the latest takeover. One point of tension had been the pursuit of justice for alleged atrocities in Darfur in the 2000s, with the International Criminal Court asking Sudan to hand over Bashir.

Advertisement

    “All those who accept or participate in dialogue with the military do not have the street’s support,” the Sudanese Professionals Association said in a statement, demanding full handover of power to civilians.

    Magdi El Gizouli, a political analyst, said Burhan’s calculation is that he can suppress the opposition by force if needed, while counting on the backing of people who crave stability.

    While it was important the army avoid violence on Saturday, Burhan’s opponents must make realistic demands, he added.

Amnesty International said the Sudanese authorities must stop the security forces from using unnecessary force.

    “Sudan’s military leaders … must make no mistake about it: the world is watching and will not tolerate further bloodshed,” Amnesty said in a statement.

Advertisement

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum and Nafisa Eltahir in Cairo; Writing by Nafisa Eltahir; Editing by Tom Perry and Sonya Hepinstall)

Continue Reading
Advertisement

World

One of suspected killers of Saudi journalist Khashoggi arrested in France – RTL

Published

on

December 7, 2021

PARIS (Reuters) – One of the suspected killers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was arrested at the Roissy airport near Paris on Tuesday as he was about to board a flight to Riyadh, French RTL radio reported.

RTL said the person arrested was a former Royal Guard of Saudi Arabia who is believed to have been involved in the killing of Kashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel, Writing by GV De Clercq, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Advertisement

Continue Reading

World

Biden, Putin begin talks, RIA says, after U.S. warning of toughest sanctions yet if Russia invades Ukraine

Published

on

December 7, 2021

By Steve Holland and Andrew Osborn

WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden began a video conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Russian state television said, after U.S. officials warned Moscow could be hit with the toughest economic sanctions yet if it invades Ukraine.

The officials said the sanctions, which one source said could target Russia’s biggest banks and Moscow’s ability to convert roubles into dollars and other currencies, were designed to dissuade Putin from using tens of thousands of troops massed near the Ukrainian border to attack its southern neighbour.

Advertisement

The Kremlin, which said before the meeting it did not expect any breakthroughs, has denied harbouring such intentions and has said its troop posture is defensive.

But Moscow has voiced rising vexation over Western military aid to Ukraine, a fellow former Soviet republic that has tilted towards the West since a popular revolt toppled a pro-Russian president in 2014, and what it calls creeping NATO expansion.

Moscow has likewise questioned Ukrainian intentions and said it wants guarantees that Kyiv will not use force to try to retake territory lost in 2014 to Russia-backed separatists, a scenario Ukraine has ruled out.

“We’re looking for good, predictable relations with the United States. Russia has never intended to attack anyone, but we have our concerns and we have our red lines,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

Calling for everyone to keep “a cool head”, Peskov said it was vital that Putin and Biden speak given what he called the extraordinary escalation of tensions in Europe.

Advertisement

The Russian rouble weakened slightly on Tuesday, with some market analysts predicting the talks would de-escalate tensions and others saying that the U.S. sanctions threat eroded hopes of finding common ground.

Ahead of his first direct talks with Putin since July, Biden discussed the sanctions plan with European allies on Monday, seeking a strong joint stance in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

He spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

They called on Russia to defuse tensions and return to diplomacy and said their teams would stay in close touch, including in consultation with NATO allies and EU partners, on a “coordinated and comprehensive approach”, the White House said.

Biden’s team has identified a set of economic penalties to impose should Russia launch an invasion, a senior Biden administration official said.

Advertisement

A separate source familiar with the situation said targeting Putin’s inner circle has been discussed but no decision made. Sanctions against Russia’s biggest banks and curbing the conversion of roubles into dollars and other currencies were also being considered, another source said.

(Additional reporting by Idrees Ali in Washington, Gleb Stolyarov, Dmitry Antonov, Alexander Marrow, Tom Balmforth and Katya Golubkova in Moscow, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Catherine Evans and Mark Heinrich)

Continue Reading

World

Britain reports 101 more cases of Omicron coronavirus variant

Published

on

December 7, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has found a further 101 confirmed cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the UK Health Security Agency said on Tuesday, taking the total number of cases to 437.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by William Schomberg)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending