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JEM leader calls to avoid violence and sabotage in Sudan protests

JEM leader Gibril Ibrahim speaks in a press briefing held in Paris on 1 December 2018 (ST Photo)
December 23, 2018 (PARIS) - Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader Gibril Ibrahim asserted that the armed groups would not seek to intervene in the ongoing protests in Sudan to protect the "popular uprising", pointing out that the best way to protect the protesters is their keenness to conduct peaceful demonstrations.

Gebril on Sunday held a press conference in Paris where he hailed the ongoing protests throughout the country, saying what is taking place in Khartoum is not a "hunger revolution" that will end with the bread but a "popular uprising for freedom and justice" against the ruling regime.

However, he stressed they do not support violence, sabotage and vandalism during the protests including the attacks and burning of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP)’s premises because they constructed with the people’s money and will eventually return to the Sudanese people after the regime’s collapse.

"Therefore we call on our people to abstain from sabotage," he said.

The demonstrators burned the NCP premises in Atbara, Damar, Gadaref, Rahad and Rabak cities. Also, they set fire to the headquarters of the Northern State government in Dongola.

Sudanese security apparatus chief Salah Gosh accused Israeli-recruited elements of the Sudan Liberation Movement Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) of carrying out acts of violence and sabotage in the country, but the rebel groups denied these statements.

Ibrahim further stressed that the regime should not be allowed by the protesters to use weapons against peaceful demonstrations, which at least, would weaken the regime if it fails to topple the regime, as he said.

Asked by Sudan Tribune if the armed groups including JEM will intervene to protect civilians in the event of systematic violence by the security forces against the demonstrators, the deputy chairman of the Sudan Call alliance said no one can claim the ability to protect the street.

"Whoever claims to protect the peaceful citizen, in fact, puts him at risk rather than protecting him," he said.

He further said the accusations against the SLM-AW of committing violence are in fact an attempt by the regime to justify the use of violence against peaceful protesters.

"For this reason, we say that we will not use weapons to protect the demonstrator. He does not need weapons to protect him from any side. He can protect himself by his own conduct, through peaceful demonstrations, depriving the regime of any justification to attack him," he said.

He went further to admit that the armed groups are not more powerful than the state forces and that civilians may be trapped in the midst of fighting between the two sides if the armed groups intervene in the demonstrations.

The Sudanese armed groups, in the past, used to issue statements supporting the protests and warning that they would join the protesters to protect the armed uprising.

The Sudanese government officials used such statements to crackdown on the protests, saying rebels would use the protests to attack the capital and spread chaos throughout the country. Also, the political opposition forces accused the armed groups of contributing to abort the popular protests.

On the other hand, Gebril stressed that the Sudanese opposition forces are required to lead the street and put forward a transitional programme that meets the demands of the Sudanese people for freedom, democracy and justice.

He praised the meetings that took place in Khartoum on Saturday between representatives of the National Consensus Forces and Sudan Call to discuss the coordination of the opposition activities in the coming period. Also, he welcomed the call by a number of trade unions to protest next Tuesday 25 December.

(ST)