Sudan's Transitional Military Council has closed the Khartoum office of Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera, the station said on its website, adding that its staff members' work permits had also been withdrawn.

Members of Sudan's alliance of opposition and protest groups chant slogans outside Sudan's Central Bank during the second day of a strike, as tensions mounted with the country's military rulers over the transition to democracy, in Khartoum, Sudan May 29, 2019.
Members of Sudan's alliance of opposition and protest groups chant slogans outside Sudan's Central Bank during the second day of a strike, as tensions mounted with the country's military rulers over the transition to democracy, in Khartoum, Sudan May 29, 2019. (Reuters)

Sudan's protesters threatened on Thursday to launch a civil disobedience campaign to pressure the ruling military to hand power to a civilian transitional government after their two-day strike failed to produce tangible results.

The threat comes as negotiations between the protesters and the military about the handover of power remain stalled, more than a month since massive protests drove longtime ruler Omar al Bashir from power. Bashir has since been held by the military in a prison in Khartoum.

The two sides remain split over the make-up and the leadership of a sovereign council that would run the country during a three-year transition period.

The protesters demand "limited military representation" on the council but the ruling generals refuse to relinquish power.

"It is unacceptable that the military council hijacks the revolution and blocks attempts to hold accountable criminals of the old regime," said Saddiq Farouk, a leader of the Sudanese Professional Association, which has been spearheading the protests.

TRT World's Khalil Charles reports.

After the military ousted Bashir, who ruled for 30 years, army generals took over but the protesters remained in the streets, mainly in a sit-in outside the military's headquarters in Khartoum, demanding the military hand over power.

The protesters are represented by the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, an alliance of opposition groups and activists.

Farouk claimed the opposition's two-day strike on Tuesday and Wednesday was successful — despite threats of layoffs in some sectors. Workers held rallies outside their workplaces, carrying banners and chanting slogans demanding a civilian government.

"The message is clear: all the Sudanese people want a civilian government," Farouk told reporters late Wednesday.

Protest leaders chastised security forces for firing warning shorts to intimidate strikers. A female street vendor was killed late Wednesday, an incident the military blamed the killing on a drunk soldier.

"This approach is unacceptable and will lead to more escalation," said Farouk. "What comes next is civil disobedience, if the military council refuses to meet the demand of the Sudanese people."

More rallies are expected later Thursday in Khartoum.

Al-Jazeera office in Khartoum closed: channel

Sudan has closed the Khartoum office of Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera, the station said on its website Thursday, adding that its staff members' work permits had also been withdrawn.

The Qatar-based broadcaster said Sudanese security officers informed it of the decision by the Sudanese Transitional Military Council to shut its office down.

"The decision also includes the withdrawal of the work permits for the correspondents and personnel of the Al-Jazeera network starting from now," said the station, which regularly broadcasts footage of demonstrations in Sudan.

No written decision was given to the bureau's director, the channel said.

"They told us that the military council had decided to close the Al-Jazeera network's office and withdraw its licence, Al-Musallami Al-Kabbashi, the director of the station's Khartoum office told AFP.

"We gave them the material and the office," he added.

The Transitional Military Council took power after the army ousted president Omar al Bashir, a close ally of Qatar.

The council's head Abdelfattah al Burhan travelled to Saudi Arabia on Thursday to participate in a summit there. He had already visited Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic ties with Doha in 2017, accusing it of terrorism, which it denies.

The generals, backed by key Arab powers, have resisted calls from African and Western governments to hand over the reins of power.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies