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October 14, 2019
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Sudan’s opposition launches civil disobedience movement for civilian ruler

Sudan’s opposition has launched a civil disobedience movement that left the streets of Sudan’s capital Khartoum largely deserted as the working week began on Sunday

The opposition is demanding civilian rule in the country after the military overthrew Omar Hassan al-Bashir government in April.

Opposition and protest groups had called for workers to stay at home after security forces stormed a protest camp on last Monday, killing dozens and dealing a blow to hopes of a peaceful transition after the overthrow of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in April.

Transitional Military Council (TMC) spokesman Shams El Din Kabbashi said the council was willing to listen to the opposition’s demands and restart negotiations, which it halted after the attack on the camp.

After the raid, TMC head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan scrapped all agreements with the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF), an opposition alliance, and called for elections within nine months. The opposition rejected the plans.

The raid came after weeks of wrangling between the TMC, which took over from Bashir, and the DFCF over who should steer a transition leading to elections.

Protesters did take to the streets in several neighbourhoods of Khartoum on Sunday amid heavy security. Security forces fired shots into the air and used tear gas to disperse protesters in Khartoum North, witnesses said.

Elsewhere in the capital, few pedestrians or vehicles could be seen. Public transport was barely functioning and most commercial banks, private companies and markets were shut, though some state banks and public utility offices were open.

“We will not go back to work until the (opposition Sudanese Professionals’) Association announces the end of the strike,” said Ahmad al-Noor, a 46-year-old employee at a private food company. “Sudan must be governed by a civilian government.”

The SPA, which spearheaded the anti-Bashir protests, is part of the DFCF.

At Khartoum airport, where few flights were operating, travellers crowded the departure hall. Most travel agencies were closed because of an internet outage, and ticket prices soared.