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SPA warns against attacks on protest site by Sudan’s junta

The people want to build a new Sudan reads a banner held by protesters outside the army headquarters on Thursday 11 April 2019 (ST Photo)
May 31, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which spearhead demonstrations in Sudan, warned the ruling military junta against attacking the protest site in Khartoum pointing to increasing targeting of civilians nearby the sit-in area.

In a bid to put pressure on the Forces for Freedom and Change in order to accept a military-led Sovereign Council, the Transitional Military Council carried out a media campaign against the opposition alliance during the last week.

Furthermore, during the past days, several people have been killed by uncontrollable elements according to the TMC outside the sit-in area including a pregnant woman. Also, several media organs have been intimidated to force them to cease covering the cultural and political activities in the protest area.

The SPA’s Foreign Relations Committee in a statement released on Friday morning pointed to the recent assault on the office of Ramtan News Agency, a TV broadcasting services agency in Khartoum and the closure of Al-Jazeera TV office in Khartoum.

Both were facilitating media coverage or broadcasting activities in the sit-in area.

Observers in the Sudanese capital say the protest area has become like the opposition-controlled area where FFC officials come to brief the people about the political developments and mobilize the street.

"It has become a legitimate target for the military council which seems preparing to remain for more than two months despite regional and international pressures," added a well-known colonist under the cover of anonymity.

The SPA holds "the TMC accountable and responsible for the crimes of the previous days, and we warn of the dangers of any further military escalation or any attempts of attacking the sit-in," the committee of foreign relations in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

"The TMC intransigence and insistence on a military nature of the sovereign authority during the transitional period is the main reason of increasing the tension in the street over the past few weeks," further pointed out the committee.

The Sudanese professionals said the ruling TMC has to respect Sudanese’s right of freedom of expression and assembly and to restrain from any use of force against the peaceful protestors.

They further called for international pressures on the military council to prevent the use of violence against protesters.

Osman Hamid a militia general of the Rapid Support Forces Thursday accused sit-in protesters of attracting prostitutes and hashish sellers. Also, he said demonstrators had thrown stones at soldiers.

The sit-in "has become a hub for all kind of criminal activities, has become an unsafe place, a threat to the revolution and the revolutionaries, and a threat to the national security of the state," Hamid said.

"Therefore, we at the Rapid Support Forces in coordination with other security forces ... are responsible for restoring the safety of the citizens (and will) carry out legal procedures to stop these violations and this behaviour."