Sudan strike – Day Two

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Banks in the Sudanese capital Khartoum came to a virtual standstill as protest and opposition groups organised a second day of strikes to pressure military rulers to cede power to civilians.

Several banks visited by a Reuters reporter were closed and cash machines had not been restocked for several days. Employees at the central bank were also on strike.

“We are committed to the strike to achieve peaceful rule,” said an employee of the Blue Nile Mashreg Bank in Khartoum. “And we are ready to participate in civil disobedience if the Freedom and Change Forces ask us to.”

The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance called for a two-day strike from Tuesday for public and private enterprises.

The action comes during a lull in talks between the ruling military council that forced out ex-President Omar al-Bashir last month and an alliance of protest and opposition groups. The two sides deadlock over who will control a political transition, though discussions continue at a lower level.

Protesters kept up a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry since before Bashir’s ousting.

Participation in the strike has been partial, with buses and most air transport still operating. Shops including clothes and retailers where people buy gifts ahead of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday ending the holy month of Ramadan next week, were open.

The strike has been widespread in the financial sector, already struggling from an economic crisis that led to shortages of fuel and cash and helped trigger 16 weeks of mass protests against Bashir’s rule.

It was being widely followed in the medical and power sectors, while port services were restricted to passenger ships for pilgrims, according to media and social media reports.

If no agreement is reached with the Transitional Military Council (TMC), the DFCF will escalate by calling for an open strike and indefinite civil disobedience until power is handed to civilians.