Three people have been killed so far on the first day of organized national protests in Sudan, with security forces resorting to tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the crowds.
Many Sudanese people are joining forces in a “civil disobedience” movement that started on Sunday, just days after a military crackdown took the lives of dozens, to try and stop the country’s military from taking power, according to the BBC.
The Sudanese military took over after weeks of protests and riots forced President Omar al-Bashir to resign in April, but many pro-democracy citizens are now claiming that they cannot be trusted to rule the country after a violent crackdown against demonstrators in Khartoum last week. People say that the military should not be in charge of the transition to democratic civilian rule, and large protests have taken over the country over the weekend.
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which led most protests against al-Bashir, is also behind the “civil disobedience” campaign, claiming they will only stop when military generals “transfer power to a civil transitional authority in accordance with the Declaration of Freedom and Change (DFC),” as reported by CNN. The SPA explained in a statement that the goal is that people go on strike to cause as much chaos as possible, but they have recently claimed that many employees have been threatened by authorities not to attend the nationwide protests, scaring them into going to work instead.
Roads in Khartoum’s northern Bahari district have been blocked, and authorities are resorting to violence to disperse the demonstrators, as per Al-Jazeera. Furthermore, people working for Sudan’s bank, the airport, and electricity companies have already been arrested ahead of the strike, the SPA said, but the Transitional Military Council (TMC) refused to comment.
The SPA, who refuses to accept talks with the ruling military, stated they are not interested in engaging with the TMC “until those responsible for last week’s barbaric attacks on demonstrators at the Army HQ are brought to justice.” The main group called for the nationwide protests as a few opposition leaders were arrested by security forces after last week’s bloody crackdown.
“The civil disobedience movement will begin Sunday and end only when a civilian government announces itself in power on state television,” the SPA stated.
According to CNN, overnight raids conducted by the ruling forces on Saturday resulted in the arrest of Secretary-General Ismail Jalab and spokesperson of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM/N) Mubarak al-Ardul. And in yet another raid, member of the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) Mohammad Esmat was also arrested by security forces, an incident that has been condemned by the British ambassador to Sudan.