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Sudan's opposition observes 1st day of strike; 'airport operating normally,' says state news agency

Many shops remained open while buses were still transporting residents, according to Reuters

AFP , Reuters , Ahram Online , Tuesday 28 May 2019
Sudan strike
Employees demonstrate outside Bank of Khartoum on May 28, 2019 as they participate in a two-day national strike (AFP)

Sudan's alliance of opposition and protest groups held the first day of a strike on Tuesday amid tensions with the country's Transitional Military Council (TMC) over the transition to democracy.

Talks between the TMC and the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance are at a standstill despite weeks of negotiations over whether civilians or the military will have the majority in a proposed sovereign council that will lead the country.

Most staff in the medical sector, electricity offices and employees at the central bank as well as commercial banks observed the strike but other sectors were only partially affected.

Many shops remained open while buses were still transporting residents, a Reuters witness said.

The airport in Khartoum was operating normally, a civil aviation authority source and state news agency SUNA said.

The DFCF had said the two-day strike would encompass public and private enterprise, including the civil aviation, railway, petroleum, banking, communications and health sectors.

However, the National Umma Party, which is both a key member of the protest movement and the main opposition group of Bashir's rule, had announced on Sunday it opposed the strike plan, saying there had been no unanimous decision for a strike.

If an agreement was not reached with the TMC, the DFCF would escalate by calling for an open strike and indefinite civil disobedience until power is handed to civilians, Wagdy Saleh, a representative of a coalition within the DFCF, told a news conference.

Saleh also said the TMC had demanded a two-thirds majority of eight to three on the sovereign council that will lead the country.

The DFCF alliance wants civilians to dominate the council.

The deputy head of the TMC, Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, said on Monday that the council was ready to hand over power swiftly, but that the opposition was not being serious about sharing power and wanted to confine the military to a ceremonial role.

The TMC has suggested that elections should be held if an agreement cannot be reached between the sides.

Sudan's military council ousted and detained Bashir on April 11 after four months of mass protests against his 30-year rule.

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