Civil disobedience campaign leaves few on streets of Sudan's capital; some state banks, public utility offices working normally

Reuters , Sunday 9 Jun 2019

Witnesses say few pedestrians or vehicles seen in Khartoum, public transport barely functioning' most commercial banks, private companies and markets shut; however, some state banks and public utility offices working normally

Sudanese women walk past closed shops in a deserted street in Khartoum's twin city Omdurman on the first day of a civil disobedience campaign across Sudan on June 9, 2019. AFP

A campaign of civil disobedience to demand civilian rule left the streets of Sudan's capital Khartoum largely deserted as the working week began on Sunday, according to witnesses.

Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters in Khartoum North, witnesses said.

Opposition and protest groups had called for workers to stay at home after security forces evacuated a protest camp on Monday, leaving dozens killed and many injured.

Monday's events dealt a blow to hopes of a peaceful transition after ex-President Omar al-Bashir's removal in April  by the army amid mass protests against his 30-year-old-rule.

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

On Sunday morning few pedestrians or vehicles could be seen in the capital's streets.

Public transport was barely functioning and most commercial banks, private companies 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," Noor said.

At Khartoum airport, where very few flights were operating, travellers crowded the departure hall.

Most travel agencies were closed because of an internet outage, and ticket prices reportedly soared.

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

In Khartoum North, across the Blue Nile from the centre of the capital, police fired tear gas to scatter protesters.

There were no reports of casualties.

Demonstrators have been trying to barricade roads in the capital over recent days as a way of sustaining the protest movement.

Also on Sunday, a well-known Sudanese banking expert rejected his appointment by the TMC as deputy governor of the central bank, he said.

Mohamed Ahmed Bushra turned down the job "because the current conditions the country is going through and the failure to form a transitional civilian government make it difficult for the central bank to arrange policies to address the economic crisis," he told Reuters.

Sudanese state TV meanwhile reported that a senior commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Mohamed Abdallah, had been replaced.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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