Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Sudan authorities shut down Al Jazeera office as protests continue

Qatari broadcaster says licence and staff work permits have been revoked in Khartoum

A employee of Al Jazeera walks past the Qatari' broadcaster's logo at its offices in Doha, Qatar. AP Photo
A employee of Al Jazeera walks past the Qatari' broadcaster's logo at its offices in Doha, Qatar. AP Photo

Sudan has closed the Khartoum office of Al Jazeera and withdrawn the work permits of its employees, the Qatari broadcaster said.

Sudanese security officers informed Al Jazeera of the decision by the Sudanese Transitional Military Council to shut its office late on Thursday, the Doha-based channel said.

"The decision also includes the withdrawal of the work permits for the correspondents and personnel of the Al Jazeera network starting from now," it said.

The military set up the council to run Sudan after removing former president Omar Al Bashir, who had close ties to Qatar, in April following months of protests against his rule. Al Jazeera regularly broadcasts footage of the demonstrations in Sudan.

Protesters are continuing a sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum to press their demand for a transition to civilian rule. The military council has agreed with protest leaders and civilian groups on a three-year transition period before elections can be held, but they are currently in a standoff over the composition and leadership of a joint "supreme council" that will function as the executive during this period.

Protest leaders this week called a two-day general strike to demand a civilian majority on the 11-member council and a civilian as its chief.

A statement issued by the military council on Thursday said incidents on the margins of the sit-in were threatening public safety.

"In the face of those developments that threaten public security and safety", authorities would "work in accordance with the law to guarantee citizens' safety and to resolve manifestations of insecurity and lawlessness," it said.

The head of the military council, General Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, was in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to attend summits of Arab and Muslim leaders convened by King Salman to discuss the threat posed by Iran's actions in the region.

A statement from the council said that "several bilateral meetings are planned".

Updated: May 31, 2019 03:17 PM

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