In Sudan, Activists Continue To Call For Civilian Government

8 hours ago
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

In Sudan, the ruling military council has said they are willing to negotiate with the opposition. But demonstrators in the capital of that country, Khartoum, continue to protest. As Halima Gikandi reports, they say their demands have not yet been met.

HALIMA GIKANDI, BYLINE: The air is filled with cautious hope and ironclad will. Activists say they will not leave the streets until their demands are met and change comes to Sudan.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Foreign language spoken).

GIKANDI: Thousands of people have been demonstrating outside the army headquarters in Khartoum for the past week, demanding that President Omar al-Bashir step down from office and that a civilian-led government take its place. On Thursday, their hopes were met when the military ousted the former president from office and formed a military transition council. But many activists say they're worried about the lack of transparency regarding how the military is interacting with al-Bashir's party, the NCP.

UNIDENTIFIED SPOKESPERSON: What is clear is that there has not really been a clean break from the previous regime. It is unlikely that they will launch a proper crackdown on previous leaders of the region.

GIKANDI: On Sunday, a spokesman for the military transition council said that they were willing to work with opposition groups to establish a civilian government. They gave them one week to suggest a new prime minister. But many activists say they are worried about the lack of transparency. Moni'm al-Sheikh (ph) is an exiled Sudanese activist living in Nairobi. He works with the Civic Forces Alliance, which is one of the opposition groups negotiating with the military council.

MONI'M AL-SHEIKH: There is no signal so far that the military council is handling the situation of the NCP and its leaders. There is no transparency about - the way about those who were arrested.

GIKANDI: For others, the negotiations are a step in the right direction and a sign that democracy could soon come to Sudan. Still, a call to continue protesting. Abubakar Muzammil (ph) is a 25-year-old civic engineer in Khartoum.

ABUBAKAR MUZAMMIL: People are afraid that if they lost the only card they have, which is the protest, well, they might be fooled or something.

GIKANDI: The governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Norway have urged Sudan's military council to allow peaceful protests and to engage in dialogue with the opposition. For NPR News, I'm Halima Gikandi in Nairobi. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.