2 October 2013

Sudan's Turabi Warns of Civil War and Calls On Bashir to Step Down

Photo: Radio Dabanga
Protests in Aloshara neighborood Khartoum

Khartoum — The leader of Sudan's opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), Hassan Al-Turabi, has renewed his warning against the outbreak of a civil war as a result of the current political turmoil and called upon president, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, to give up power.

In an interview with Sky News TV Arabic service on Wednesday, Al-Turabi said that they hope the regime hands over power before people resort to arms leading to civil war, adding that the regime could no longer sustain power through tyrannical means.

The Islamic leader further called upon the opposition parties to get ready for a transitional period following the downfall of the regime, expecting that opposition forces would soon sign the interim constitution after they have agreed on its general basis.

Turabi who was speaking for the first time since the recent protests in Sudan also warned against the flare-up of total chaos following the overthrow of the regime if the opposition forces fail to prepare the political alternative.

The opposition forces failed to agree on the role of religion in politics as Turabi calls for an Islamic constitution while the other opposition forces speak about Civilian State where only issues related to the personal status and some issues of the civil law can be included in the constitution.

Last week, violent clashes erupted between the demonstrators and security forces in different parts of the country following the government's removal of fuel subsidies leading to at least 33 deaths according to official figures and more than a 150 according to activists and opposition.

Sudanese authorities said they arrested 700 people in connection with the riots and denied using live ammunition against protesters. They accused outside elements of firing at the demonstrators.

45 DEMONSTRATORS SENTENCED

On Wednesday, a court in Gezira state capital city of Wad Medani issued sentences including imprisonment, flogging, and fines against 45 demonstrators arrested during the recent protests.

Protesters were sentenced to two months jail, ten to twenty lashes, and 1000 pound fine ($150) according to articles 77 and 79 of the criminal code relating to crimes of riots and damage.

Demonstrations have resumed in Khartoum on Wednesday when protesters gathered in front of Khartoum's university faculty of medicine and shouted slogans calling for the downfall of the regime before police used teargas to disperse them.

Dozens of female youths have also lined in front of Sudan's army general command building holding banners denouncing the political situation in the country.

In its first reaction on the events, the Arab League (AL) said that it is closely following the developments in Sudan in light of the popular protests which spread in different parts of the country.

The AL deputy secretary general, Ahmed Bin Hilli, said in press statements on Wednesday that Sudan's events can't be separated from what is happening in the Arab countries, pointing that protests are legitimate and useful as long as they remain peaceful.

He added that the Sudanese government is responding to the protesters' demands and stressed the need for maintaining Sudan's stability, saying that protests shouldn't compromise national security.

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