Sudanese students rally for killed protesters
KHARTOUM - Hundreds of Sudanese university students chanting "civilian rule, civilian rule" rallied in downtown Khartoum on Tuesday seeking justice for fellow pupils killed in months of political unrest.
The rally follows a power sharing deal signed last week between protest leaders and army rulers, but negotiations have yet to address accountability for hundreds killed since demonstrations first erupted in December.
Tuesday's protest was called by the Sudanese Professionals Association, the group that initially spearheaded the campaign against the now ousted ruler Omar al-Bashir.
"Blood for blood, we don't want compensations," chanted the students, many holding photographs of comrades killed in seven months of protest while others waved Sudanese flags.
Riot police deployed in the area but did not clash with protesters.
"We are in the streets because we want those responsible for the sit-in massacre to be held accountable," said student Malaz Eizzeddine.
She was referring to a June 3 crackdown on a protest camp in the capital Khartoum, in which dozens of demonstrators were killed and hundreds wounded.
Ismail al-Taj, one of the protest leaders, addressed the students before the rally dispersed.
"You're the soul of the revolution. We are loyal to you and we are loyal to the martyrs," he said as protesters chanted revolutionary slogans.
Doctors close to the protest movement say that 246 people have been killed nationwide in protest-related violence, while Sudanese officials have given a lower death toll.
Although protest leaders and the generals who took over following Bashir's ouster have inked a power sharing deal, three rebel groups backing the demonstrators have expressed reservations about the agreement.
Talks are currently underway in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa between protest leaders and the rebel groups, who have said the July 17 deal is "unacceptable".
They insist the accord must make peace negotiations for Sudan's war zones a priority, as well as address the needs of those affected by the conflicts.
The accord signed earlier this month aims to set up a joint civilian-military ruling body that would then establish an overall civilian administration, the main demand of demonstrators.
More talks between the generals and protest leaders to thrash out some pending issues have been suspended since the rebel groups raised their concerns.
No date has been fixed yet for resuming the talks mediated by African Union and Ethiopian diplomats.