October 2, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The leader of Sudan’s opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), Hassan Al-Turabi, has renewed his warning against the outbreak of civil war as a result of the current political turmoil, calling on president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir to step down.
- Sudan’s Islamist opposition leader Hassan Al-Turabi has called on the Sudanese president to stand down (REUTERS)
In an interview with Sky News TV’s 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 opposition parties to prepare for a transitional period following the downfall of the regime, expecting that opposition forces would soon sign the interim constitution once they had 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 opposition forces failed to adequately prepare a political alternative.
Opposition forces have been unable to agree on the role of religion in politics, with Turabi calling for an Islamic constitution, while the other opposition forces support a civilian state where only issues related to personal status and civil law are included in the constitution.
Last week, violent clashes erupted between demonstrators and security forces in different parts of the country following the government’s removal of fuel subsidies, resulting in at least 33 deaths according to official figures and more than 150 according to activists and opposition sources.
Sudanese authorities say they have arrested 700 people in connection with the riots, but denied using live ammunition against protesters, accusing outside elements of firing at demonstrators.
45 DEMONSTRATORS SENTENCED
On Wednesday, a court in Gezira state capital Wad Medani issued sentences including imprisonment, flogging, and fines against 45 demonstrators arrested during the recent protests.
Protesters were sentenced to two months’ jail, while 10 will receive 20 lashes and a 1000 pound fine ($150) according to articles 77 and 79 of the criminal code relating to crimes of riots and damage.
Demonstrations 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 young women 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 across 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 other Arab countries, pointing out 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.