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Sudan arrests Islamists planning riots and violence during pro-democracy demonstrations

June 28, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese authorities Sunday arrested Islamists cells planning to stage large-scale riots during demonstrations for justice and formation of transitional parliament that pro-democracy Resistance Committees will hold on 30 June with the broad support of political forces.

Sudanese protests in Khartoum streets on 30 June 2019 (Reuters)The Sudanese youth will take to the streets on 30 June to recall the government of Abdallah Hamdok their demand for justice and trial of those who killed protesters on 3 June 2019 in Khartoum. Also, they want the formation of the remaining transitional period institutions: the legislative council, commissions and generally the implementation of the transitional constitution.

"The police and judicial forces have arrested Islamist cells members planning to incite violence at demonstrations of 30 June," said police officials told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

Already on Saturday, Khartoum state governor said that they have information about plans aimed at to turn processions into chaos. He announced precautionary measures to prevent such violence, including the closure of markets and shops and deployment of prosecutors with the forces who will protect the demonstrators to take legal measures against the rioters.

On Sunday, authorities applied strict measures to prevent possible violence, including closing bridges and evacuating those residing in Khartoum hotels and residences especially those in furnished hotels and apartments. The preventive measure was decided following reports that the Islamists mobilized people from outside Khartoum and paid them hotels and apartments in the capital.

The Resistance Committees and the Organization of the Families of the Martyrs pledged that the itinerary of processions will not include the army headquarters, the presidential palace or the council of minister, but will march through main streets and residential areas.

30 June will mark the first anniversary of the huge protests across the country that forced the military council to negotiate a handover of power to a civilian government after refusing to negotiate with the Forces for Freedom and Change, also the same date marks the anniversary of the Islamist military coup that brought al-Bashir to power in 1989.

However many fear that supporters of the ousted President Omar al-Bashir’s regime will infiltrate the demonstrations and spark violence or chant slogans hostile to the transitional government. Several Islamist groups supporting the former regime have called to participate in the marches.

Musab Mohamed Ali, a lector at the political sciences department at Al-Neelain University Khartoum confirmed that there are intense anxiety and frustration because the parties participating in the demonstrations are from the opposing sides, i.e. government and opposition supporters.

"The resistance committees call, through the 30 June march, to correct the transitional period by completing the structures of governance and just retribution, while opponents of the transitional period see it as an opportunity to end the transitional period and shorten it as they call to form a new government," said Musab.

The political analyst did not rule out the violence, and warned of "frictions that may create chaos, because the numbers of the demonstrators may be large and difficult to control, and this requires high-security measures for the million and mobilizing an emergency room from the security forces."