KHARTOUM: Two relatives of Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al Bashir led an anti-government protest yesterday calling for freedom of expression and a transitional administration, a reporter said.
Al Tayeb Mustafa, Bashir’s uncle, and Amin Banani, who is related to Bashir’s family by marriage, joined about 150 other people in the rally at the gates of a central Khartoum mosque.
“We want freedom of expression... and freedom of peaceful demonstration,” said a memorandum to the president read out by Banani, a former minister in Bashir’s government.
Banani now heads a small faction of the opposition Justice Party.
Mustafa is chief of the extremist Just Peace Forum party and runs Al Intibaha, Sudan’s most popular newspaper. After the newspaper criticised a government decision to slash fuel subsidies, state security agents in September ordered Al Intibaha to stop publishing.
The government’s September 23 cut in subsidies sent thousands of people onto the streets to protest as petrol prices rose more than 60 percent.
The demonstrations and their Arab Spring-inspired calls for the downfall of the regime were the worst urban unrest of Bashir’s 24-year rule.
“We call for a government representing all Sudanese,” said a sign carried by the protesters outside the mosque.
Police surrounded the group, preventing it from marching, but the protesters later dispersed without incident.
Their memorandum called for the dissolution of the government, which took power in a 1989 Islamist-backed coup. It proposed that the country be run by a “national presidential council” of prominent figures for 18 months until elections are held, and said all political parties should participate in drafting a new constitution.
The memo was signed by 15 small opposition parties.
Bashir is also facing discontent over the subsidies decision from within his ruling National Congress Party.