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Sudan’s security forces storm opposition premises ahead of Sunday’s protests

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Sudanese rally outside the army headquarters supporting opposition demand to transfer power to civil rule on 25 April 2019 (AFP photo)
June 29, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese security forces stormed the premises of the Sudanese Professionals (SPA) Association in Khartoum and prevented a press conference held on the eve of rallies the opposition plans to hold on Sunday.

The attack took place as the international community has called to ensure the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and warned against violence on the opposition groups which peacefully call for a civilian-led transitional authority.

"Regular military forces of the putschist military council stormed the premises of the (Sudanese) Professionals Association and prevented a press conference which was scheduled for 07:00 pm on June 29," said the SPA, a coalition of trade unions that spearheads the protests.

"We condemn this repressive behaviour, which reflects the extent of the Council’s fear of continuing communion between the SAP and the masses of our steadfast people," further said the statement.

The opposition alliance accepted a draft agreement on the transitional institutions made by the Ethiopian mediator but it was rejected by the military council.

Until now the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) did not make public their position on the joint proposal by the Ethiopian mediator and the African Union envoy which call to renegotiate the percentage of the opposition at the appointed parliament.

However, opposition sources told Sudan Tribune they accepted the joint initiative and the talks will resume in the upcoming days.

The National Umma Party of Sadiq al-Mahdi welcomed the joint proposal on Friday and said they will announce a joint position with its pro-democracy allies.

According to the opposition, the purpose of the 30 June protests is to express a collective condemnation of the June 30, 1989 coup that brought al-Bashir to power and an invitation to focus on the lesson learned from this coup and its corrupt regime, so that Sudanese void to repeat it.

Also, the protests intend to express a rejection of the use of violence against the peaceful protest movement.

For its part, the military junta warned the opposition groups that they would be held responsible for any destruction or damage by "vandals" and people "with an agenda" ahead of planned protests on 30 June.

The Council further warned against "any destruction or damage" to people and state institutions because of "traffic disruption or road closure" during Sunday’s marches.

In the past, the SPA used social media to mobilize and reach Sudanese in the different parts of the country. Now after the internet cut by the junta, they held small protests in the neighbourhoods and meeting to explain their positions.

The brutal attack on peaceful protesters of 3 June was a turning point in the relationship between the opposition and the military council.

Also, the recent violence that followed the attack did not dissuade youth from taking to the street to express their rejection of the military rule particularly after the deployment in the capital of Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militiamen.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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