8 June 2019

Sudan: Protest Leaders Call for Civil Disobedience Against Military Rulers

One of Sudan's biggest pro-democracy groups says people should pile pressure on the country's military rulers. The call came days after the military killed dozens at a pro-democracy sit-in in the capital.

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

"Disobedience is a peaceful act capable of bringing to its knees the most powerful weapons arsenal in the world," the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) said Saturday.

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.

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

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.

"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/cmk (AFP, AP)

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