Sudan’s leading general on Sunday lifted a state of emergency that had been imposed in the country following the coup that he led in October last year.
The decision by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling military council, came hours after the Security and Defense Council, Sudan’s highest body that decides on security matters, recommended an end to the state of emergency and the release of all detainees.
The recommendations are meant to facilitate dialogue between the military and the democracy movement, Sudanese Acting Minister of Defense Major General Yassin Ibrahim Yassin said in a video statement.
The recommendations came as the country faces protests against military rule and an unknown number of advocates and former officials remain in detention.
Earlier on Sunday, UN Special Representative for Sudan Volker Perthes called for the country’s leaders to lift the state of emergency, decrying the killing of two protesters in a crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators who once again took to the streets of the capital to denounce the coup on Oct. 25 last year.
“Once again: It is time for the violence to stop,” Perthes wrote on Twitter.
Hundreds of people on Saturday marched in Khartoum, where security forces violently dispersed the crowds and chased them in the streets, advocates said.
The two protesters were killed during demonstrations in Khartoum’s Kalakla neighborhood.
One was shot by security forces and the other suffocated after inhaling tear gas, said the Sudan Doctors Committee, which is part of the democracy movement.
Sudan has been plunged into turmoil since the military takeover upended its short-lived transition to democracy after three decades of repressive rule by former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir.
Al-Bashir and his government were removed by the military in a popular uprising in April 2019.
Saturday’s protests were part of relentless demonstrations in the past seven months calling for the military to hand over power to civilians.
At least 98 people have been killed and more than 4,300 wounded in the government crackdown on anti-coup protests since October, the medical group said.
Hundreds of democracy advocates and disposed officials were detained following the coup, although many were later released under pressure from the UN and Western governments.
The protesters demand the removal of the military from power, but the generals have said that they would only hand over power to an elected administration.
They have said that elections are to take place in July next year as planned in a constitutional document governing the transition period.
The UN, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority in Development — an eight-nation east African regional group — have been leading concerted efforts to bridge the gap between the two sides.
Meanwhile, the trial of four demonstrators accused of killing a senior police officer during a protest earlier this year began on Sunday at the Judicial and Legal Science Institute in Khartoum.
Dozens of protesters gathered in the area in a show of support for the defendants.
The four were detained in raids after Colonel Ali Hamad was stabbed to death as security forces dispersed protesters on Jan. 13.
Their defense lawyers deny the allegations.
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