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Sudan Islamist scholars form Movement for Change

The Movement for Change is the latest sign of public frustration with the 24-year regime of President Omar al-Bashir, who seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989

AFP , Thursday 31 Oct 2013
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Sudanese Islamist scholars have formed a National Movement for Change that hopes to lead a search for alternatives to the country's "failed" political system, a member said Thursday.

"We are calling on other people from different political or cultural (groups) or think tanks to join us to try to find a new way for Sudan," Khalid Tigani, one of about 10 members of the group, told AFP.

He said the movement is not a political party and that a convention will later decide what form it will take.

The Movement for Change is the latest sign of public frustration with the 24-year regime of President Omar al-Bashir, who seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.

Critics have become increasingly vocal since the government in September slashed fuel price subsidies, leading to the worst urban unrest of Bashir's rule.

Security forces are believed to have killed more than 200 demonstrators, many of whom were shot in the head or chest, Amnesty International said.

Authorities reported 60 to 70 deaths, saying they had to intervene when crowds turned violent, attacking petrol stations and police.

Hundreds of people were detained, but the government says most have been released.

Analysts said the spontaneous demonstrations pointed to an urgent need for reform by a government grappling with wars, internal dissent, economic crisis and international isolation.

Tigani said the current government is part of the broken system but "not the whole story."

"We are saying that the old Sudanese political system completely failed," he said.

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