Khartoum, Sudan | AFP | Crowds of Sudanese protesters chanting “it will fall again, it will fall again” flocked to the army headquarters Friday where thousands prepared to hunker down for another night defying an army curfew, witnesses said.
Dressed in white traditional clothes, men and women, headed to the military complex where protesters have massed for seven straight days, witnesses said.
“We did it once, we can do it again,” said a protester, who has been at the site of the ongoing demonstration since Tuesday night. He planned to spend another night in a row there.
On Thursday, Sudan’s long time leader Omar al-Bashir was toppled by the army on the back of a months-long popular uprising that peaked last week when protesters braved volleys of tear gas to gather at the army headquarters.
Since April 6, they have camped outside the complex, which also houses Bashir’s residence, urging the army to back them in ousting the leader.
And on Thursday the army overthrew him and appointed a military council to run the country for two years led by Defence Minister Awad Ibn Ouf.
But for angry protesters the same regime remained in place, and since the announcement they have turned their anger on the council and its newly appointed chief Ibn Ouf.
“We don’t want Ibn Ouf, we don’t want any military government,” said one protester.
“This entire group is from Bashir’s regime. We want a civilian leader.”
Several soldiers were however seen chatting and mingling with protesters at the complex on Friday, witnesses said.
As the evening approached, buses full of protesters headed to the protest site with plans to defy the night-time curfew for a second straight night, a witness told AFP.
– “Reject the announcement’ –
Crowds of people flooded two bridges that connect the capital with suburbs.
“Many young girls, waving Sudanese flags, drove towards the protest site honking their cars and ululating,” a witness said.
At the protest site itself thousands offered Friday prayers earlier in the day.
An imam dressed in a white robe with Sudanese flag draped over his shoulder led the weekly prayer.
“This is the first time that I’m coming here in response to calls that today’s prayers will be performed here,” said Hussein Mohamed, an elderly man who came to the site from Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum, across the Nile.
Groups of Coptic Christians served food and drinks to worshippers ahead of their prayers.
Many offered mats to protesters who had been camping at the site since last night.
“Protesters reject the announcement, protesters reject the announcement,” chanted women, raising their hands in the air, after offering prayers under a make-shift tent at the complex.
Witnesses said the entire area reverberated with the sound of singing.
Protesters were chanting in circles, with one leading the song and others dancing in circles around him repeating it.
Groups like this are everywhere, said one demonstrator as behind him musicians played traditional Sudanese and African tunes.
“It is too, too hot, but I’m impressed by what our young men and women are doing here. I’ll surely come again,” said Mohamed, who later left the area.