Sudanese Opposition Leader Calls for Calm
By Staff, Agencies
The head of the Sudanese opposition, Sadiq al-Mahdi, also known as Sadiq as-Siddiq, warned protesters on Sunday against provoking the military.
"We shouldn't provoke the military council by trying to take away their legitimacy and the positive role they've played in the revolution," the veteran politician told AFP.
Saying that the military establishment was responsible for preventing a bloodbath, the 83-year-old said they knew that they would find themselves in the same position as dictator Omar al-Bashir should they attempt to cling to power.
"Bashir wanted to disperse the sit-in [in front of army HQ] even if, according to him, it would mean killing a third of the population," al-Mahdi said.
The leader, who ruled as the last democratically elected prime minister of Sudan between 1986 and 1989, has called for Bashir to be handed over to the International Criminal Court.
He is likely to take a prominent role in any new administration, but warned that former regime forces could attempt to exploit the chaos that would follow a split between the protesters and the army.
On Wednesday, the African Union told military authorities in Sudan they would have up to 60 days to transfer power to a civilian government, lest they face sanctions, shortening it to a previous 3-month deadline.
Meanwhile, the Sudanese Professionals Association, the union that has sparked and led the protests, called for a mass rally on Thursday, at 1:00 pm local time, after the military council attempted to remove barricades around the sit-in area on Tuesday.
"We will not accept chaos. We will deal with it firmly in accordance with the law," Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the military council vice president, said in a press conference.
But protesters rebuilt some the makeshift obstacles even higher, while others were going out to convince imams and community leaders to call for mass protest.
The movement received support from busloads of protesters from the embattled region of Darfur on Tuesday, with many highlighting the need for civilian solidarity.