Sudanese protest at military HQ, Al Jazeera office ordered shut

KHARTOUM Thousands of protesters gathered outside the Sudanese military headquarters in Khartoum late Thursday to pressure the country's ruling generals to cede power, as security officers ordered Qatari news broadcaster Al Jazeera to close its office in the capital.

Chanting slogans in favour of a civilian government, singing and waving

Sudanese flags, the mostly young protesters gathered after dusk to join a

weeks-long sit-in outside the sprawling military complex.

The site has become the focal point of the country's protest movement,

which saw longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir ousted in April and has since been calling for the generals who replaced him to hand over power to civilians.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change protest movement had called for people to gather at the site on Thursday for a million-strong march.

The goals of our revolution will be reached by peacefulness and not by

violence, Wajdi Saleh, a spokesman for the protest group, said as he

addressed the crowd.

Meanwhile, security officials told Al Jazeera the military council was

closing the network's Khartoum office and revoking work permits for its

correspondents and staff, without giving a reason.

They told us that the military council had decided to close the Al Jazeera

network's office and withdraw its licence, bureau director Al-Musallami Al-Kabbashi said. We gave them the material and the office.

The news channel, which regularly broadcasts footage of the demonstrations in Sudan, is funded by Doha, a close ally of former president Bashir.

The latest demonstration came the day after a two-day general strike to

pressure the military council to resume suspended talks on the future shape of a transitional authority.

The two sides had agreed on many aspects of a political transition,

including its duration and the bodies to oversee it.

But negotiations broke down over the question of whether a planned

transitional body would be headed by a civilian or military figure.

The army ousted Bashir on April 11 after months of protests against his

autocratic, three-decade rule.

Hundreds of women marched through central Khartoum earlier in the day

calling for a civilian government.

As they made their way through the capital to the sit-in, they chanted:

Freedom, peace, justice, civil government is the people's choice!

The head of the ruling military council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan,

was in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to attend summits with Arab and Muslim

leaders.

A statement from the council said that several bilateral meetings are

planned.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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