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General strike launched in protest after security crackdown in Sudan

The Associated Press

In this frame grab from video, shops are seen closed during a general strike in the Al-Arabi souk business district of Khartoum on Sunday.

The Associated Press KHARTOUM (AP) — Shops were closed and streets were empty across Sudan on Sunday, the first day of a general strike called for the start of the workweek by protest leaders demanding the resignation of the ruling military council.

The Sudanese Professionals Association urged people to stay home to protest the deadly crackdown last week when security forces violently dispersed the group’s main sit-in outside the military headquarters in the capital, Khartoum.

The protesters say more than 100 people have been killed since the crackdown began June 3, including at least four slain by security forces on Sunday.

The protesters hope that their strike and campaign of civil disobedience will force the military to hand over power to civilians. The military leaders ousted longtime President Omar al-Bashir in April after four months of rallies. The generals have refused demonstrators’ demands for an immediate move to civilian rule, instead pushing for a transitional power-sharing arrangement.

The SPA posted photos of what it said was an empty Khartoum International Airport, adding that airport workers and pilots are taking part in the civil disobedience.

Other videos online showed offices and businesses closed and light traffic, in both Khartoum and the Red Sea city of Port Sudan.

SPA activist Dura Gambo said participation in the general strike “exceeded our expectations.”

“All private and some government banks joined the strike. Cities across the country are almost empty,” she said.

The head of the leading opposition Umma party, Sadek al-Mahdi, warned of escalation from both the protest leaders and the military council.

“The mutual escalation damages the county. We have been working to adjust the strike and disobedience to contain the escalation,” he said in televised comments.

Military council spokesman Shams al-Deen al-Kabashi urged the protest leaders to retract their call for civil disobedience.

In televised comments, al-Kabashi said the council would accept proposals provided by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to resume talks. Ahmed has been trying to revive negotiations between the generals and the protest leaders.

“We have no objections to get back to negotiations and reach consensus,” al-Kabashi said, adding that it would study the conditions provided by the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change, an umbrella group of opposition figures and protest leaders.Speech

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