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Sudanese protesters increase pressure for civilian rule

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Sudanese protesters increase pressure for civilian rule
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Hundreds of Sudanese protesters gathered in the capital Khartoum on Friday to keep up the pressure on the ruling interim military council.

They performed the weekly Friday prayers at a sit-in in front of the Defence Ministry complex.

Men, dressed in white robes to battle the heat, sat for the Friday sermon delivered by a fellow protester from atop a stage.

Protesters listen to a sermon in front of the Defence Ministry complex

Protesters raised their hands giving the peace sign during the sermon, before standing up to pray the two mandatory Rak'ahs to finish the congregational prayer.

Hundreds more marched to the area after the praying in mosques nearby.

The sit-in that began on April 6 outside the Defence Ministry was the culmination of 16 weeks of protests triggered by the economic crisis, leading to President Omar al-Bashir being ousted and arrested after three decades in power.

"Thank God we got rid of the greatest tyrant (Bashir)," said protester Sufian Abdallah. "This tyrant destroyed the Sudanese economy, he starved the Sudanese people and made them thirsty, and performed many horrors. He killed a lot of innocent souls all around Sudan, we lost some of our brothers."

The military council has said a transitional period of up to two years will be followed by elections and that it is ready to work with anti-Bashir activists and opposition groups to form an interim civilian government.

Sudanese have been struggling with sharp price rises and shortages of cash and basic products. Many analysts blame the country's economic troubles on mismanagement, corruption and the impact of U.S. sanctions, as well as loss of oil revenue when South Sudan seceded in 2011.