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Al-Mahdi renews support to Sudan’s protests, calls on al-Bashir to step down

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Alsadiq Almahadi, leader of the opposition Umma Party and former prime minister, speaks during a news conference about the Doha Agreement on Darfur, in Khartoum August 13, 2011. (Reuters photo=
January 25, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) al-Sadiq al-Mahdi has expressed his support to the ongoing protests demanding the removal of the regime of President Omer al-Bashir.

Large protests have been ongoing across Sudanese cities since 19 December. The demonstrations first began over fuel shortages and a hike in food prices but have now morphed into full-fledged protests calling for al-Bashir to step down.

The Sudanese government has confirmed the deaths of 29 people in the course of the protests but other credible reports including from Amnesty International suggest the death toll is nearly twice as high.

“We support this popular movement, calling to avoid any manifestations of physical and verbal violence and condemning the killing of the free people and the excessive use of violence against them. These killings are motivated by Fatwas [religious rulings] issued by unjust rulers justifying violence, murder and the use of live bullets against unarmed citizens” said al-Mahdi at the Friday sermon prayers

The veteran leader said 50 protesters have been killed during the demonstrations so far, pointing that dozens have been injured and hundreds arrested.

Al-Mahdi renewed his call to establish a credible commission under the auspices of the United Nations to probe the killing of the peaceful protesters.

He called on President al-Bashir to step down, revealing that he had asked him to resign after the secession of South Sudan and before the eruption of the war in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

The NUP leader said the country now faces an unprecedented crisis, pointing out that al-Bashir has a historic opportunity to save the country and avoid the bloodshed if he agrees to step down in a negotiated manner.

He added the popular forces would express their support for al-Bashir’s resignation peacefully.

(ST)

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