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Travellers stranded as Sudan strike enters second day

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Employees demonstrate outside Bank of Khartoum on May 28, 2019 as they participate in a two-day national strike to step up pressure on the ruling military council. – Thousands of Sudanese employees in government offices, private companies and the economic hub of Port Sudan began a two-day national strike after Sudanese protest leaders piled pressure on the military to hand power to a civilian administration. (Photo by ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

Hundreds of travellers remained stranded in the Sudanese capital Wednesday as bus terminal staff stopped work for a second day in support of protesters demanding the ruling generals step down.

In a bid to step up the pressure on the military council which took power after ousting longtime president Omar al-Bashir, the Alliance for Freedom and Change protest movement called for a two-day general strike starting on Tuesday.

Thousands of employees of government offices, banks, private sector firms and the docks of Port Sudan observed the strike on Tuesday, insisting that only civilian rule can lift Sudan out of its political crisis.

On Wednesday, the capital’s airport began to return to normal after scores of staff stopped work on Tuesday. But the flights of Sudanese airlines Badr, Tarco and Nova remained suspended.

At the main bus terminal, stranded passengers were looking for private transport to reach their destinations as bus company staff remained on strike.

“This is the second day I came to the bus terminal with my family and I am still unable to travel,” said Mohamed al-Amin, who was trying to reach the eastern state of Kassala.

“Now I’m trying to hire a car with some other passengers.”

Several newspapers were unable to bring out their editions because their printers were on strike.

“My newspaper is not on strike but we were unable to print the edition because the technicians were on strike,” the owner of Al-Mjher newspaper, Al-Hindi Ezzeddine, tweeted.

Ahead of the two-day strike, protest leaders had said medics, lawyers, prosecutors, and staff from the electricity, water, public transport, telecommunications and civil aviation sectors were set to take part in the strike.

The army ousted Bashir in April after months of protests against his autocratic rule, including a sit-in by tens of thousands outside Khartoum’s military headquarters.

But the generals, backed by key Arab powers, have resisted calls from African and Western governments to step down.

Thousands of protesters remain camped outside army HQ.

Before suspending talks last week, the two sides had agreed on many aspects of the political transition, including its duration and the bodies that will oversee it.

But negotiations broke down over the protesters demands that a planned new sovereign council to replace the current generals have a civilian head and a civilian majority.


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