Protesters vow to overthrow Sudanese government

Sudanese campaigners spearheading demonstrations against President Omar al-Bashir’s iron-fisted rule vowed this week to press on with their protests until the regime is overthrown.

Deadly protests have rocked Sudan since December, with people calling for an end to Bashir’s three decades in power.

In its first news conference since demonstrations erupted on December 19, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), an umbrella body for doctors, engineers, teachers and university professors, and its allies ruled out negotiations with Bashir’s government.

“This regime has to go. This is our goal,” said Mohamed Yusuf, a spokesman for the SPA.

“There is no way of holding any dialogue with this regime,” Yusuf told reporters at the offices of Umma, Sudan’s main opposition party, as supporters chanted anti-government slogans outside.

The Umma party, which has thrown its weight behind the protests, also pledged to push on with the movement, which has held nationwide rallies for almost two months.

“We will continue our uprising until this regime is overthrown,” said Sara Najdullah, the party’s general secretary.

“We also call on the international community and human rights groups to help us in investigating the crimes of this regime.”

Officials say 30 people have died in protest-related violence so far, whereas Human Rights Watch says at least 51 people have been killed.

At least 14 academics were arrested when they joined a protest outside Khartoum University, according to an AP report.

Yusuf called on political groups and activists to join the protest movement by signing the Document for Freedom and Change.

The text outlines a post-Bashir plan including rebuilding Sudan’s judicial system and halting the country’s dire economic decline.

“There are no conditions for signing the document. It is open for everyone,” Yusuf said.

Protests first erupted in the farming town of Atbara after a government decision to triple the price of bread.

But they quickly escalated into near-daily demonstrations across cities and towns that analysts say pose the greatest challenge to Bashir’s rule since he took power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.

Anger that had been mounting for years because of economic hardship and deteriorating living conditions has boiled over on to the streets, under the slogan: “Freedom, peace, justice!”

Bashir has remained defiant, insisting the ballot box is the only way to change the government and vowing to stand for a third term in an election scheduled for next year. — AFP

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