Wednesday 26 June 2019

'Four dead' as anti-army unrest rocks Sudan cities

The streets of Sudan’s capital Khartoum were largely empty as the working week began yesterday. Photo: AP
The streets of Sudan’s capital Khartoum were largely empty as the working week began yesterday. Photo: AP

Khalid Abdelaziz

At least four people have died on the first day of a campaign of civil disobedience against military rule in Sudan, according to opposition medics.

The streets of Sudan's capital Khartoum were largely empty as the working week began yesterday.

Opposition and protest groups had called for workers to stay at home after security forces stormed a protest camp last Monday, killing dozens and dealing a blow to hopes of a peaceful transition following ex-president Omar al-Bashir's removal in April.

The protesters say more than 100 people have been killed since the crackdown began.

A doctors' committee linked to the demonstrators said two people were killed yesterday in unrest that rocked Khartoum and two others in its twin city of Omdurman, just across the Nile river.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) said it was willing to listen to the opposition's demands and restart negotiations.

The raid came after weeks of wrangling between the TMC that took over from Mr Bashir and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF), an opposition alliance, over who should steer a transition leading to elections.

The capital was tense yesterday, with protesters taking to the streets in several neighbourhoods amid heavy security. Security forces fired shots into the air and used tear gas to disperse protesters in Khartoum North, on the other side of the Blue Nile river, witnesses said.

Few pedestrians or vehicles could be seen in the capital's streets, according to witnesses. Public transport was barely functioning and most commercial banks, private firms and markets were shut.

Some state banks and public utility offices were working normally.

"We will not go back to work until the (Sudanese Professionals) Association announces the end of the strike," said Ahmad al-Noor, a 46-year-old employee at a private foodstuffs company. The SPA, which spearheaded the anti-Bashir protests, is part of the DFCF.

"Sudan must be governed by a civilian government," Mr Noor said.

At Khartoum airport, where few flights were operating, travellers crowded the departure hall. Most travel agencies were closed because of an internet outage, and ticket prices soared.

State news agency SUNA said Khartoum airport was "operating normally" and reported "complete attendance of employees".

Irish Independent

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