Teargas used on Sudan student protest

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Security forces fired teargas to disperse students demonstrating against the ruling military council at a financial academy in the capital Khartoum, a Reuters witness said.

Dozens of lawyers gathered outside the main cour complex in Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city, calling for civilian rule and for people to join mass demonstrations planned for Sunday. They chanted: “Freedom, peace, and justice. Civilian rule is the people’s choice.”

Demonstrations in Khartoum have become rare since security forces broke up a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry on June 3, leaving more than 100 people dead, according to medical sources.

The sit-in was the focal point of protests against former president Omar al-Bashir and the military council that ousted him on April 11.

Its dispersal caused the collapse of stalled talks between the military council and a coalition of opposition and protest groups over how to manage a transition to elections.

Mediators led by Ethiopia’s prime minister and the African Union are trying to broker a return to direct talks between the two sides.

On Thursday they presented a joint proposal after the military council rejected a previous Ethiopian proposal and called for mediation efforts to be unified.

A draft of the joint proposal seen by Reuters suggested a few changes from the previous Ethiopian proposal.

A sovereign council would oversee the transition and was the sticking point during weeks of talks after Bashir’s ousting, would be made up of seven civilians and seven members of the military with an additional seat for an independent member.

The make-up of a legislative council would only be decided after the agreement was signed. In previous drafts, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) opposition coalition would make up two-thirds of the council.

Activists who led months of protests against Bashir called for a million-strong march on Sunday to revive street pressure on the military council and call it to cede power to civilians.

On Thursday the UN Security Council approved the extension of the joint African Union-UN peacekeeping mission UNAMID in Sudan’s Darfur region for four months until October 31 and the extension of its planned drawdown period.

Rights group appealed the drawdown and UNAMID’s planned withdrawal in 2020, saying it would leave thousands of civilians more vulnerable than before.

According to the United Nations, the military council in Khartoum demanded UNAMID hand over its premises to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, which rights monitors accuse of widespread abuses in Darfur, as part of the withdrawal.