The United Nations and the United States call for the Sudanese army to be contained in the protests

Cairo (AFP) – The United Nations and the United States called on Sudan’s top generals to allow pro-democracy protests on Saturday and avoid confrontation in the wake of a military coup earlier in the week.

Pro-democracy groups have called for mass rallies across the country to demand the restoration of the ousted transitional government and the release of detained high-ranking political officials.

The military rebellion threatened the weak transition to democracy in Sudan, which has been underway for more than two years and has the backing of the West. In 2019, a popular uprising led to the resignation of autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist-allied government after nearly three decades in power.

The UN Special Envoy for Sudan, Volker Perthes, met on Friday evening with General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, one of the leaders of the coup and considered close to the strong man in the country, Major General Abdel Fattah Burhan.

Dagalo leads the dreaded Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary unit that controls the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and played a major role in the uprising. The Rwandan armed forces are notorious for their atrocities and abuses during the conflict in the South Darfur region and for their deadly attacks on pro-democracy protesters in 2019.

Perthes said on Twitter that during the meeting he stressed the need for calm, allowing peaceful protests and avoiding any confrontation.

In another statement, Perthes said the UN transitional mission is “actively coordinating with the ongoing mediation efforts to facilitate an inclusive dialogue, which remains the only way to a peaceful solution to the current crisis.”

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Saturday’s protests are likely to increase pressure on the generals, who already face mounting condemnation from the United States and other Western countries for restoring the civilian-led government.

The moves called for by the Sudanese Professionals Association and the so-called resistance committees. Both were at the forefront of the revolution against Bashir. Among his demands are the dissolution of the military council that now rules the country, led by Al-Burhan, and the handing over of power to civilians.

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