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Sudan protest leaders call for strike from Tuesday


KHARTOUM: Sudan’s protest leaders have called for a two-day general strike starting Tuesday amid deadlock in talks with the ruling army generals on installing civilian rule, the key demand of demonstrators.

The umbrella protest movement, which led nationwide demonstrations against longtime leader Omar al Bashir that led to his ouster on April 11, is at odds with the generals over the forming of a new governing body.

“There is no longer any alternative to using the weapon of a general strike,” the Alliance for Freedom and Change said in a statement on Friday.

It said the strike, affecting “public and private institutions and companies”, would be accompanied by civil disobedience and was “an act of peaceful resistance with which we have been forced to proceed”.

Talks between the protest leaders and generals have been suspended since Monday after a disagreement over who should lead the new authority — a civilian or an officer.

The generals who seized power after Bashir was toppled have resisted calls from the demonstrators and the international community to step down.

The protest alliance said that on Saturday its leaders will hold meetings with demonstrators at the sit-in outside the military headquarters to consult the demonstrators on how to end the deadlock in talks with the generals.

Thousands of protesters remain camped at the sit-in demanding that the generals who seized power after ousting Bashir step down. The Alliance for Freedom and Change has also called for rallies from residential areas in Khartoum heading towards the sit-in on Sunday.

On Thursday, employees of several companies as well as government institutions, including the central bank, held spontaneous demonstrations in parts of the capital in support of the protest movement.

Several rounds of talks have so far failed to finalise the makeup of the new ruling body, with both the generals and protest leaders insisting on their demands.

Western nations like the US, Britain and Norway have consistently called on the generals to hand over power to a civilian administration, while the ruling army council has received support from regional allies.

EGYPT VISIT: Meanwhile, the head of Sudan’s ruling military council arrived Saturday in Cairo, where he will meet President Abdel Fattah al Sisi, the Egyptian presidency said.

General Abdel Fattah al Burhan is on his first trip since taking power following the April ouster of president Bashir after months of protests.

His visit comes after Sudanese protest leaders announced a two-day strike from Tuesday, as talks with the military over installing civilian rule remain suspended. — AFP

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