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Thousands of Islamists protest UN mission in Sudan

Sudanese protesters deploy a giant national flag, as they march outside the UN headquarters in Khartoum on December 3
— Khartoum (AFP)

Thousands of Islamists in Sudan rallied Saturday against efforts by the United Nations to solve the political crisis sparked by last year's coup, AFP journalists said.

The demonstrations, the latest by Islamist factions in recent weeks, came one day after military leaders and a key civilian bloc announced plans to sign an initial deal.

Political turmoil has gripped Sudan since army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan led an October 2021 military takeover, derailing a fragile transition to civilian rule installed after the 2019 ouster of long-time Islamist autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

Near-weekly anti-coup protests, a spiralling economic crisis and a rise in ethnic clashes in Sudan's remote regions have since fed deepening unrest.

"Do not interfere in Sudanese affairs," protesters chanted outside the headquarters of the UN mission in Khartoum.

Others called on UN special representative Volker Perthes to "get out" of Sudan.

"We are against this deal," said protester Ahmed Omar.

Protester Mohamed Hasabo also criticised the upcoming deal as a "dual settlement" that excludes others.

On Friday, military leaders met with the Forces for Freedom and Change, the main civilian bloc which was ousted in the 2021 coup.

The FFC said they discussed a potential "political framework agreement" that would "lay the groundwork for establishing of transitional civilian authority".

Sudan's sovereign council, chaired by Burhan, confirmed the plan.

Friday's talks were held in the presence of officials from the African Union, United Nations and the regional IGAD bloc, as well as Western diplomats, the FFC and the sovereign council said.

Divisions among civilian groups in Sudan have deepened since the coup, with some urging for reaching a deal with the military, while others insist on "no partnership, no negotiation".

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