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Sudanese protest in favour of civilian rule

Sudan’s security forces have fired tear gas to break up a demonstration in the capital Khartoum by thousands of  people in support of a civilian-led transition to democracy.

Many came from outside Khartoum by train from the cities of Atbara and Madani to take part in Thursday’s protests.

A crowd of thousands celebrated the arrival of the Madani train, climbing on top, waving national flags and chanting “the army is Sudan’s army, not Burhan’s army” – a reference to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of Sudan’s military and its ruling sovereign council.

Reuters reported that civilian officials greeted the protesters. But security forces later fired volleys of tear gas to break up the gathering.

Last week, an attempted coup, blamed on soldiers loyal to former President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, exposed divisions between military and civilian groups sharing power during a transition that is meant to run to 2023 and lead to elections.

Following the coup attempt, civilian officials accused military leaders of overstepping their bounds, while generals criticized civilian management of the economy and political process, saying their forces were being neglected and disrespected.

In April 2019, the military ousted Mr Bashir after 30 years in power. Mr Bashir’s removal followed months of protests triggered by an economic crisis.

The army subsequently signed a power-sharing deal with the civilian Forces of Freedom and Change coalition (FFC).

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