Civil disobedience effort leaves Khartoum streets empty

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A campaign of civil disobedience to demand civilian rule left the streets of Sudan’s capital Khartoum largely deserted as the work week began.

Opposition and protest groups called for workers to stay at home after security forces stormed a protest camp on June 3, killing dozens and dealing a blow to hopes of a peaceful transition after the overthrow of former president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir in April.

Sudanese protesters rest on a mat on a barricaded street, demanding that the country’s Transitional Military Council handover power to civilians, in Khartoum, Sudan June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

Transitional Military Council (TMC) spokesman Shams El Din Kabbashi said the council was willing to listen to the opposition’s demands and restart negotiations, which it halted after the attack on the camp.

The raid came after weeks of wrangling between the TMC, which took over from Bashir, and the DFCF over who should steer a transition leading to elections.

Protesters did take to the streets in several neighbourhoods of Khartoum on Sunday amid heavy security. Security forces fired shots into the air and used tear gas to disperse protesters in Khartoum North, witnesses said.

Elsewhere in the capital, few pedestrians or vehicles could be seen. Public transport was barely functioning and most commercial banks, private companies and markets were shut, though some state banks and public utility offices were open.

We will not go back to work until the (opposition Sudanese Professionals’) Association announces the end of the strike,” said Ahmad al-Noor, a 46-year-old employee at a private food company. “Sudan must be governed by a civilian government.”

The SPA, which spearheaded the anti-Bashir protests, is part of the DFCF.

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