Sudan protesters block attempt to break up sit

Sudanese demonstrators gather near the military

Sudanese demonstrators gather near the military headquarters in the capital Khartoum

As of Monday morning, protesters have blocked efforts by soldiers to remove road blocks, according to reports.

"Himeidti was part of the crimes that happened previously, but at least now he is on the side of the people", said Mohamed, a protester outside the army headquarters who gave only his first name for security reasons.

Outside the Defense Ministry on Monday, about 5,000 protesters chanted "Freedom, freedom" and appealed to the army to protect them.

He was once seen as the most powerful person in the country after Bashir and protesters held him responsible for the killing of demonstrators demanding an end to military rule.

"The decision whether to extradite Bashir to ICC will be made by a popularly elected government and not the transitional military council", he said.

Demonstrators, however, have refused to end their sit-in, calling for the transfer of power to a civilian government.

The sit-in outside the compound, which also includes the intelligence headquarters and the presidential residence, began on 6 April after more than three months of protests triggered by a deepening economic crisis.

Sudan's protest leaders piled pressure on the country's new military rulers on Monday to hand over power immediately to a civilian government.

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The protestors have insisted that civilian representatives must join the military council, and demanded that a fully civilian government be set up to run day-to-day affairs.

"It is time for the Transitional Military Council and all other parties to enter into an inclusive dialogue to effect a transition to civilian rule", the statement read.

"This must be done credibly and swiftly, with protest leaders, political opposition, civil society organizations, and all relevant elements of society, including women".

The Council called on the Sudanese political forces to present their vision for the transitional period within a week. But in a press conference, the council's spokesman did not respond to the protesters' latest demands.

Protest leaders have called for the feared intelligence agency, whose chief Salah Gosh resigned on Saturday, to be restructured and for NISS officials to face prosecution.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, a group of teachers, engineers and doctors that initially spearheaded the campaign, has urged protesters to continue with the sit-in "until the revolution's demands are met".

Al-Bashir, who came to power in an Islamist coup in 1989, imposed a nationwide state of emergency February 22 in an attempt to suppress the protests after an initial crackdown failed. They demanded the dissolution of Bashir's National Congress Party and said they received affirmation from the TMC that the party will not participate in a transitional government being negotiated.

If the junta fails to hand power to civilians within 15 days, the AU will suspend "the participation of the Sudan in all AU's activities until the restoration of constitutional order", the body's Peace and Security Council (PSC) said in a statement.

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