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02.07.2019 Sudan

Sudan protesters gear up for day of civil disobedience

JUL 2, 2019 SUDAN

Protesters in Sudan are readying for a second nationwide day of civil disobedience called for Sunday, 14 July.

In a post on Facebook, main protest leaders, the Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC), said the campaign would involve a "total political strike in all professional sectors" in the capital Khartoum, as well as across all provinces.

Sudan's second such general strike in less than a month is to be preceded by mass protests called for Saturday, 13 July.

The move is intended to further pressure Sudan's ruling generals into handing power to a civilian administration, following the overthrow of longtime president Omar al-Bashir in April.

Last Sunday, 10 people were killed and scores wounded in what was dubbed the "million-man" march against the military, attended by tens of thousands of Sudanese.

The march was seen as a test for protest leaders following the 3 June raid on a Khartoum protest camp, during which dozens of people died at the hands of security forces.

Since then, an internet blackout has limited the ability of protest organisers to mobilise support.

Joint mediation efforts continue
Ethiopia and the African Union have been mediating between the two sides, but have yet to achieve a major breakthrough.

Most recent efforts involve a so-called "Declaration of Principles" proposed by the AU and Ethiopia, which the AFC has tentatively approved, but says needs to be further studied.

Shareef Othman, a leader of the AFC, said: "We have subscribed to the Declaration of Principles because we think it takes up most of what was mentioned in the previous agreement, and it opens the way to the transition to civilian authority."

The main sticking point between the parties will most likely be agreement on an independent investigation of the 3 June raid. The death toll stands at 128, but the Sudan Doctors Central Committee, which is linked to the protest movement, expects that number to rise.

Sudan's military council has said it wants an army official permanently at the head of the sovereign council, but protesters oppose such a measure.