Sudan protesters call for civil disobedience to put pressure on military

At least 113 people have been killed and more than 500 wounded since Monday

A protester flashes the victory sign in front of burning tyres and debris near Khartoum's army headquarters. AP 
A protester flashes the victory sign in front of burning tyres and debris near Khartoum's army headquarters. AP 

Sudanese pro-democracy protest leaders on Saturday called on citizens to take part in acts of civil disobedience in a bid to pressure the military into handing over power after demonstrators' sit-in in Khartoum was broken up earlier this week.

The call came a day after Ethiopia's prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, met Sudan's ruling generals and the protest leaders to revive talks that were almost dead after the violent crackdown outside the military's headquarters on Monday.

The Sudan Doctors' Central Committee, one of the protest groups, said at least 113 people have been killed and more than 500 wounded since Monday. It said more than 40 bodies were pulled from the Nile in Khartoum and taken away by the security forces since the violence erupted.

The Sudanese Professionals' Association, which headed the protests that led the army to oust former president Omar Al Bashir, said it accepted Mr Ahmed as a mediator but had a set of conditions before returning to the negotiating table.

These included setting up an independent, internationally backed body to investigate the violence since Mr Al Bashir was overthrown on April 11. The umbrella group also called for the release of all political prisoners and said the mediation should aim at a power transfer to a civilian-led authority.

In a brief statement on Saturday, the military council welcomed Mr Ahmed's initiative and repeated its willingness to resume talks to reach "satisfactory understandings".

However, in an escalation, the SPA said the civil disobedience will begin on Sunday and last until the military hands over power to civilians.

On Saturday, the Sudanese Congress party said that the security forces arrested an opposition figure and two rebel leaders.

Mohammed Esmat, a negotiator for the protesters, was arrested after his meeting with the Ethiopian prime minister on Friday in Khartoum, the party said.

Security forces also arrested Ismail Jalab, a leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North and his spokesman Mubarak Ardol early on Saturday.

The British ambassador in Khartoum, Irfan Siddiq, condemned the arrests and called for the military council to release them.

A spokesman for the military council did not immediately answer calls seeking comment.

Updated: June 9, 2019 10:54 AM

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