KHARTOUM – Hundreds of protesters packed in a train arrived in Khartoum Tuesday from a central Sudanese town to join a sit-in outside the army headquarters demanding military rulers step down.
Many protesters perched on the roof of the train, waving Sudanese flags as it chugged through north Khartoum’s Bahari railway station before winding its way to the protest site, an AFP photographer said.
The passengers, who had traveled from the town of Atbara where the first protest against ousted President Omar al-Bashir erupted on Dec. 19, chanted “freedom, peace, justice.
Crowds of supporters filled the Bahari station for hours and waited along the tracks to greet the train, which came to a final stop outside the army headquarters in central Khartoum.
Calling for retribution for those killed during Bashir’s rule, protesters chanted “blood for blood, we will not accept compensations.
The protests that broke out in Atbara swiftly mushroomed into nationwide demonstrations against Bashir’s iron-fisted rule, finally leading to his ouster on April 11 by the army.
Under Bashir, officials say at least 65 people were killed in protest-related violence since December.
But initial jubilation at the end of Bashir’s three-decade reign quickly turned to anger over the military council’s plan to keep power for a two-year transition period.
Groups of journalists, doctors, engineers and veterinarians also marched Tuesday to the protest site in Khartoum calling for the transfer of power to civilian rule.
In eastern Sudan, hundreds of protesters joined a sit-in outside an army building in the border town of Kassala, demanding that those responsible for killing protesters be brought to justice.
Protest leaders have suspended talks with the military council, accusing it on Sunday of being part of the regime put in place by Bashir.
Late Monday the military council tried to ease the tensions, saying the demands made by the Alliance for Freedom and Change, the umbrella group leading the protest movement, were being examined.
“The alliance has presented its proposal … which is now being studied along with the visions of other political forces,” council spokesman Shamseddine Kabbashi told reporters.
He said the council “will communicate with everyone to reach a middle ground.
African leaders meanwhile at an emergency summit in Cairo urged Sudan’s military rulers on Tuesday to implement a democratic transition within three months, the Egyptian presidency said.
They also urged the African Union to extend its deadline, currently the end of April, for Sudan’s military council to hand power to a civilian authority or face suspension from the regional bloc.