Sudan protesters to end strike, resume talks with generals: mediator
June 11 2019 11:49 PM
Sudanese rebel chief and leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), Yasir Arma
Sudanese rebel chief and leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), Yasir Arman speaks to the media after his deportation from Khartoum, Sudan to South Sudan yesterday, in Juba. Arman, who had arrived in Khartoum late last month to take part in the talks, said on June 10 he and two comrades had been forcibly deported from Sudan to neighbouring South Sudan.

AFP/Khartoum

Protest leaders have agreed to end their civil disobedience campaign launched after a crackdown on demonstrators and resume talks with Sudan's ruling generals, an Ethiopian mediator said Tuesday.
"The Alliance for Freedom and Change agreed to end the civil disobedience (campaign) from today," Mahmoud Drir, who has been mediating since a visit by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed last week, told reporters.
"Both sides have also agreed to resume talks soon" on a handover of power to a civilian administration, he said.
The protest movement itself said in a statement that it was calling on people "to resume work from Wednesday".
"The TMC (Transitional Military Council" as a goodwill gesture has agreed to release all political detainees," Drir added, without giving details.
Protest leaders launched a nationwide civil disobedience campaign from Sunday after a June 3 crackdown on a weeks-long sit-in had left dozens of people dead.
Thousands of protesters had camped for weeks outside the army headquarters in Khartoum demanding that the ruling generals step down and hand power to a civilian administration - the key demand of demonstrators.
The generals seized power after the army ousted longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir on April 11 following months of nationwide protests against his iron-fisted rule of three decades.
Doctors close to the protest movement say at least 118 people have been killed since the June 3 crackdown.
The health ministry acknowledges that 61 people were killed on June 3 across Sudan, including 49 by "live ammunition" in the capital.
The protest strike kept most businesses shut and residents hunkered indoors in the Sudanese capital on the third day as a top US diplomat prepared a visit to press the ruling generals to halt a bloody crackdown.
Protest leaders stepped up the pressure on the generals by announcing they would soon release a list of members for a new ruling body -- the key point of dispute between the two sides.
Public buses were operating in some parts of Khartoum and some neighbourhood vegetable markets were open.
But the capital's main business and commercial districts were shut with some companies extending to the end of the week the Eid al-Fitr holidays marking the end of Ramadan.
The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces accused of having played the lead role in the June 3 crackdown patrolled districts in their trademark pickup trucks fitted with heavy machine guns.
"We are now getting used to live with guns as we are seeing so many of these men walking into restaurants with their weapons," one resident said as a group of RSF members entered an eatery.
Fewer people were on the streets than usual.
"In the last three days, we have lost a lot of money," said Ibrahim Omar, an employee at one of many tour firms hit hard by a nationwide internet blackout on Monday.
"We are not doing any international flight bookings. I hope it does not continue like this."
In the northern district of Bahari, a hotbed of unrest where protesters had put roadblocks in the past few weeks, most shops were closed but there were no barricades to be seen.
Demonstrators declared their nationwide shutdown a success.
"This shows clearly what we can do, and also in a peaceful way," said Ishraga Mohamed.
"Such a campaign does not lead to killing people and at the same time puts pressure on the military council. We will continue with it until our goal is achieved."
Protest leaders vowed to name a new ruling body to replace the generals.
"The Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC) will reveal its sovereign council and a prime minister in an announcement to be made at a suitable time," the Sudanese Professionals Association, a key member of the umbrella protest movement, said late on Monday.
The crackdown by the military came after negotiations between protest leaders and the generals collapsed late last month over who should lead the new governing body -- a civilian or a soldier.
The AFC said the campaign of civil disobedience "clearly shows that the Sudanese people are rejecting the military council and its militias and they have lost their legitimacy".
Since toppling longtime president Omar al-Bashir on April 11, the generals have resisted demonstrators' demands, backed by Western and most African governments, to make way for a civilian-led transition.
The US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Tibor Nagy, plans to meet both the generals and protest leaders in Khartoum, the State Department said.
He is to leave on the trip today and also visit Addis Ababa to discuss the Sudan crisis with Ethiopian leaders and the African Union.
The United States has led calls for a civilian-led transition even as its Arab allies Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have backed the generals.
But many Sudanese back the protesters' demands.
"The military council should hand over the government to civilians as nobody wants the military to rule... people don't like them," said Ahmed Abdallah, a resident of an upscale Khartoum neighbourhood.



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