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Sudanese demonstrators on Thursday rolled out a banner honoring fallen protesters over a square where ousted president Omar al-Bashir held a large rally in his final months in power, a symbolic move that left some in tears.

Thousands of demonstrators, mostly teenagers and people in their early 20s, joined a rally in the square, which continued to grow into the late afternoon. Protesters said they were renaming it from the Green Square to Freedom Square.

At the top of a two-tier concrete stand where only Bashir and his allies were once allowed to appear, young men covered a giant sign reading “The Green Square” with a banner carrying the words: “Justice first … loyalty to the revolution’s martyrs”.

The protest came as the military council and an alliance of protest and opposition groups work to finalize a power-sharing deal for a three-year transition toward elections.

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which spearheaded months of protests that led to Bashir’s overthrow in April, has continued to call for rallies against the generals who replaced him as they push for a democratic transition.

Security forces including the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have occasionally cracked down on protests, and in early June crushed a sit-in outside the Defense Ministry, killing dozens.

The SPA said security forces had fired tear gas at a group marching toward the square on Thursday, though in the square itself people protested freely, some of them storming its manager’s office.

The manager, Mohamed Adam Araby, sided with the protesters. “Those in the square are the revolution’s youth. They came for Sudan’s sake, unlike the masses who were paid to come,” he said, in a reference to Bashir supporters bussed in for his speeches.

Reuters


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