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Bashir's relatives protest for free expression in Sudan

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Two relatives of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir led an anti-government protest on Friday calling for freedom of expression and a transitional administration, an AFP reporter said.

Al-Tayeb Mustafa, Bashir's uncle, and Amien Banani who is related to Bashir's family by marriage, joined about 150 other people in the rally at the gates of a central Khartoum mosque.

"We want freedom of expression... and freedom of peaceful demonstration," said a memorandum to the president read out by Banani, a former minister in Bashir's government.

Banani now heads a small faction of the opposition Justice Party.

Mustafa is chief of the extremist Just Peace Forum party and runs Al-Intibaha, Sudan's most popular newspaper.

After the newspaper criticised a government decision to slash fuel subsidies, state security agents in late September ordered Al-Intibaha to stop publishing.

The government's September 23 cut in subsidies sent thousands of people, many of them Khartoum-area poor, onto the streets to protest as petrol prices rose more than 60 percent.

The demonstrations and their Arab Spring-inspired calls for the downfall of the regime were the worst urban unrest of Bashir's 24-year rule.

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

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

"We call for a government representing all Sudanese," said a sign carried by the protesters outside the mosque.

Police surrounded the group, preventing it from marching, but they later dispersed without incident.

Their memorandum called for the dissolution of the government which took power in a 1989 Islamist-backed coup

It proposed that the country be run by a "national presidential council" of prominent figures for 18 months until elections are held, and said all political parties should participate in drafting a new constitution for Sudan.

The memo was signed by 15 small opposition parties, mainly Islamists.

Bashir is also facing discontent over the subsidies decision from within his ruling National Congress Party.

There was no immediate confirmation of other demonstrations on Friday.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131011/bashirs-relatives-protest-free-expression-sudan