Sudan arrests dozens of former ruling party members ahead of protests


KHARTOUM, June 30 (Reuters) – Sudanese authorities say they have arrested dozens of members of the former ruling party, accusing them of plotting “acts of destruction”, as young people took to the streets during separate pro-democracy demonstrations in the capital.

Police arrested at least 200 members of the National Congress Party (NCP) early Wednesday, officials said, on the 32nd anniversary of the coup that brought former leader of that party, the ex-President Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir was in turn ousted in 2019 and replaced by a precarious military-civilian transitional government that has vowed to hold elections and has repeatedly accused NCP loyalists of trying to undermine his work and disrupt the country.

“There were National Congress Party groups preparing for acts of destruction,” said Salah Manaa, a member of the official committee set up to dismantle the remnants of Bashir’s political and economic networks.

Sudanese civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok warned earlier this month of the potential for chaos and civil war stoked by the old administration.

Underlying the competing pressures facing the transitional government, pro-democracy protesters marched through the capital Khartoum and across the Nile to Omdurman, marking another anniversary on Wednesday.

Two years ago, massive protests raging in the capital and the country prompted the military leaders who ousted Bashir to start negotiating with civilians, culminating in Sudan’s current power-sharing deal.

Police fired tear gas at demonstrators chanting anti-Bashir and pro-democracy slogans, as well as around 150 NCP worshipers protesting against the transitional government in central Khartoum.

The new military-civil administration has sought to hold the fractured country together and rebuild ties with the West since Bashir’s exit. On Tuesday, the IMF authorized Sudan to begin seeking about $ 56 billion in debt relief. Read more

But many of the economic crises that fueled public anger against Bashir’s regime have persisted since his departure. Read more

The Manaa committee said authorities had tracked large movements of money related to the alleged plot and recently arrested dozens of illegal currency traders suspected of working to sabotage the economy.

There was no immediate statement issued by any of those arrested, nor by the lawyers representing them. The NCP was banned in 2019.

Report by Khalid Abdelaziz in Khartoum and Nafisa Eltahir in Cairo; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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