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An informal roadblock set up in Khartoum
Image: Getty Images/AFP

Sudan 'civil disobedience' protests start

June 9, 2019

A key protest group announced the campaign to run until ruling generals transfer power to civilians. The call came days after the military killed dozens at a pro-democracy sit-in in the capital.


Pro-democracy activists called for a nationwide "civil disobedience" campaign to run from Sunday until Sudan's ruling military council transfers power to a civilian government.

"The civil disobedience movement will begin Sunday and end only when a civilian government announces itself in power on state television," the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) said in a statement.

"Disobedience is a peaceful act capable of bringing to its knees the most powerful weapons arsenal in the world," the SPA announced.

The SPA is an umbrella group of 17 different unions representing doctors, journalists and lawyers.

Sudanese police in Khartoum fired warning shots to disperse protesters building roadblocks on Sunday. Markets and shops in several towns and cities remained closed.

People stand in line in front of a bakery in the capital
People stand in line in front of a bakery in the capitalImage: Getty Images/AFP

The call came after 113 people died and more than 500 were wounded in a government crackdown on a pro-democracy sit-in outside an army complex in Khartoum on Monday, according to the Sudan Doctors' Central Committee.

Read more: African Union suspends Sudan, demands end to military rule

The Health Ministry has said only 52 people died by "live ammunition" in the capital, and nine more in other parts of the country.

All major roads and squares in the capital, Khartoum have been deserted since Monday's clampdown, and it was unclear how the civil disobedience would be organized.

'Act with courage and responsibility': Ethiopia PM

In April, the military council removed longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir from office and took power. The move came after months of anti-Bashir protests first launched by the SPA.

Since then, both sides have held several rounds of talks on a peaceful transition of power. The last round broke down in mid-May.

The prime minister of neighboring Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, was in Khartoum on Friday to promote a renewal of negotiations between the military council and protest leaders on a peaceful transition of power.

Read more: Opinion: Sudan must not become another Egypt

"The army, the people and political forces have to act with courage and responsibility by taking quick steps toward a democratic and consensual transitional period," Ahmed said.

Three opposition leaders who attended meetings with Ahmed were arrested late Friday, their aides said Saturday. Irfan Siddiq, the British ambassador in Khartoum, denounced the arrests and called for their immediate release.

The military council said it welcomed Ahmed's initiative and was willing to resume talks to reach "satisfactory understandings."

amp/jm (AFP, AP)

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