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Sudan opposition pushes ahead with two-day strike from Tuesday

  • 27 May 2019

Protest leaders are calling for a general strike to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, hoping to force the military to transfer power to a civilian-led authority.

Sudanese protesters at a demonstration along the streets of Khartoum, Sudan. May 22, 2019. ( Reuters Archive )

Sudan's alliance of opposition and protest groups said on Monday that it will push ahead with a general two-day strike starting on Tuesday after talks with the ruling military council collapsed.

Wagdy Saleh, speaking for the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance, said the Transitional Military Council (TMC) demanded a two-thirds majority, of eight to three, on a sovereign council that would lead the country after the ouster of long-time president Omar al Bashir last month.

The deputy head of the TMC, Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, said earlier on Monday that the council was ready to hand over power swiftly, but said the opposition was not serious about sharing power.

"These people do not want to partner with us," said Dagalo, who is known as Hemedti and heads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, adding they wanted to confine the military to a ceremonial role.

"By God, their slogans cheated us. I swear we were honest with them 100%," Hemedti said at a dinner with police and diplomats. "That's why, by God Almighty, we will not hand this country except to safe hands."

Public support for the strike

On the streets of Khartoum, there appears to be wide support for the strike plan.

Shop owner Malek Awad says everyone should take part.

"This is a national duty. We are not doing this for the sake of certain leaders, we do this for the sake of our country. Our country is above all."

And private sector worker Salaheddin Mustafa says he will be joining the strike.

"I want to send a message to the Transitional Military Council that we say no to the military ruling and we say yes to the civilian-led authority," he explains.

Not all political groups support the strike through - a sign of divisions within the pro-democracy movement.

The opposition Umma Party said it opposes the "preparations and timing" of the strike. However, it said authorities do not have the right to fire those who take part in the planned strike.

The party is a member of the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change.

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