Call for civil disobedience in Sudan receives mixed response

Authorities release more than 100 people arrested during teachers' protest against military takeover

A civil disobedience campaign to protest against last month’s military takeover in Sudan waned on Monday with life appearing to be heading back to normal on its second and final day.

The campaign was called by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), a pro-democracy alliance that played an important role in the uprising that ousted former president Omar Al Bashir in 2019.But, as was the case on Sunday, most banks and shops opened in Khartoum on Monday.

Schools also remained open, but attendance was low in some as parents kept children home.

More than 100 people were arrested on Sunday during a protest led by schoolteachers opposed to the military takeover. They were all released on Monday without charge, judicial officials said. The protest was part of the civil disobedience campaign.

Sunday’s demonstrations were the latest action by professional unions opposed to the military takeover. Doctors and pharmacists have been on strike for the past two weeks, only handling urgent cases in state healthcare centres. Private clinics are operating as normal.

Other professionals on strike include employees of the Central Bank.

The streets of Khartoum were packed with traffic on Monday, with life in the city inching closer to normal. But many government offices remained closed and classes at the University of Khartoum were suspended.

“We protest in waves. And eventually, the coup will be defeated,” said Khaled Fathy, a senior member of the SPA.

The group and allied neighbourhood resistance committees have opposed the military takeover using a variety of tactics, including strikes, street barricades and demonstrations.

The first campaign of civil disobedience began the day the military announced the takeover, but fizzled out after about a week. Organisers said that was owing to the need to alleviate the suffering of millions who work for daily wages.

The military seized power on October 25, dismissing the civilian-led, transitional government and arresting dozens of officials and politicians. The move has drawn international criticism and led to protests on the streets across the country.

At least 12 protesters were killed and about 300 injured in a series of demonstrations after October 25, including protests on October 30 that attracted hundreds of thousands in Khartoum and elsewhere in Sudan.

Army chief Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan has declared a nationwide state of emergency and vowed to hold elections in July 2023. He also suspended the work of a state commission mandated with dismantling remnants of Al Bashir's regime.

“We have taken a vow before the people of Sudan and the international community to complete the journey of transition and elections and not to hinder the freedom of political activity so long as it remains peaceful and within legitimate rights,” Gen Al Burhan told Al Jazeera.

He denied soldiers were behind the killing of protesters, saying the violence was being investigated. Activists have said the dead and injured suffered gunshot wounds, mostly to the chest and head.

Updated: November 10th 2021, 5:11 AM
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