Sudan protest leaders cancel civil disobedience campaign

AFP , Saturday 6 Jul 2019

Sudanese people chant slogans and wave national flags as they celebrate after protest leaders struck a deal with the ruling generals on a new governing body, in the capital Khartoum's eastern district of Burri on July 5, 2019, - The deal, reached in the early hours of July 5 after two days of hard-won talks brokered by Ethiopian and African Union mediators, provides for the interim governing body to have a rotating presidency, as a compromise between the positions of the generals and the protesters. The blueprint proposes that a general hold the presidency for the first 18 months of a three-year transition, with a civilian taking over for the rest (Photo: Reuters)

Sudan's protest movement on Saturday said it has cancelled a nationwide day of civil disobedience that was planned for later this month, after reaching a power-sharing agreement with ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC).

The Alliance for Freedom and Change and the TMC agreed on Friday to form a joint ruling body, which in turn is to install a transitional civilian administration -- protesters' main demand.

Prominent protest leaders Ahmed al-Rabie and Khalid Omar confirmed to AFP that the civil disobedience campaign had been cancelled.

"It is to give room for the agreement" to be implemented, Rabie said.

A deal is expected to be ready for signing by the two sides early next week, although the draft has postponed the formation of a 300-seat transitional parliament that had been agreed upon in previous talks.

The protest umbrella group on Saturday released a new programme of events on social media networks, which makes no mention of the July 14 civil disobedience campaign.

The alliance had also called for a mass protest against the generals on July 13 -- a date which marks 40 days since a June 3 pre-dawn raid on a protest camp in Khartoum by men in military fatigues that killed dozens of protesters.

The new programme proposed by the alliance says that there will instead be gatherings on July 13 as a "commemoration" for those killed in the raid.

Omar said the earlier aim of the mass protest and civil disobedience campaign was to "achieve civilian rule" through mobilising people on the streets against the generals.

"But now we can assume that civilian rule will be achieved through the agreement," he added.

Tension between the generals and protest leaders had soared following the raid, and it was only after intense mediation by Ethiopian and African Union envoys that the two sides resumed negotiations and finally reached an agreement on Friday.

At least 136 people have been killed since June 3, including more than 100 on that day itself, according to doctors close to the protest movement.

The health ministry has given a lower death toll of 78 people killed over the same period.

Days after the raid on the sit-in, the protest alliance held a three-day nationwide civil disobedience campaign, which attracted strong participation and hit the country's already dilapidated economy hard.

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