Friday, 23 August, 2019

Sudan businesses shut as protesters keep up civil disobedience

Yasir Arman Khartoum streets deserted as defiant protesters continue general strike
Patty Aguilar | 12 June, 2019, 03:58

The military ousted long-time President Omar al-Bashir in April following months of protests against him.

The UN said Monday that Sudan's military rulers issued a decree demanding the mission in Darfur hand over its premises as part of its withdrawal plan next year.

In response, the opposition started a general strike on Sunday, the first day of the workweek in Sudan, in a renewed bid to pressure the military council to hand over power to civilians.

The country's last remaining internet connections were cut around 12pm local time (10am GMT) on Monday, said NetBlocks Group, an independent non-profit that works on digital rights and freedoms.

"The Military Council has chose to reinforce the presence of armed forces, RSF and other regular forces to help normal life return", the council member said, including the feared Rapid Support Forces, blamed by witnesses for the killings last week as a sit-in protest outside army headquarters was cleared.

Talks broke down after dozens of protesters were killed in a crackdown on a sit-in on 3 June.

Internet lines from the country's main provider Sudantel stopped working in the capital Khartoum in the early afternoon, an AFP correspondent said, adding the outage had affected embassies, luxury hotels and offices. Mobile internet connectivity has been largely offline since June 3, the group said.

He said security forces would provide "security to isolated civilians, reopen roads and facilitate the mobility of people, public and private transport and protect markets and strategic state installations".

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The Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, which represents the protesters, said Tuesday they made a decision to suspend their general strike and campaign for civil disobedience until further notice.

The Central Committee for Sudanese Doctors blamed forces supporting the ruling generals for the deaths on Sunday.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been trying to revive negotiations between the generals and the protest leaders and has visited Khartoum.

"I was not aware of where they were taking me".

The US's top diplomat for Africa is going to Sudan this week amid unrest, the state department said on Monday.

The military today also deported three members of a rebel movement detained last week in the wake of the deadly raid on the sit-in, the movement said on Monday.

"Both sides have also agreed to resume talks soon" on a handover of power to a civilian administration, he said. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy was to meet leaders in Sudan just a week after more than 100 people were killed by government backed paramilitary forces.

Protest leaders in Sudan have agreed to suspend widespread strikes and return to the negotiating table, an Ethiopian mediator says.

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