3m Sudan strikes bring country to standstill

Yasir Arman

Opposition leaders have put forward a list of demands before they will agree to return to negotiations with the army over the country's political transition.

The silence contrasts with the bloodshed, violence and mayhem of last week when over a 100 people were killed by the notorious paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) when they attacked a protest sit-in outside military headquarters in Khartoum.

The leader said the opposition Freedom and Change alliance planned to nominate Abdullah Hamdouk, a former executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, as new prime minister, Reuters reported.

In response, the opposition called a general strike that began on Sunday, the first day of the workweek in Sudan, to keep up pressure on the military, which had cancelled a power transfer agreement that called elections within nine months following the dismissal in April of the civilian regime of Omar al-Bashir. Arman had been arrested two days earlier.

The Sudanese protesters who succeeded in driving President Omar al-Bashir from power last month say their revolution won't be complete until they have dismantled what many describe as an Islamist-dominated "deep state" that underpinned his 30-year rule.

The TMC said the arrests were the result of an investigation into last week's crackdown.

The US's top diplomat for Africa is going to Sudan this week amid unrest, the state department said on Monday. Various powers, including Russian Federation and the Gulf Arab states, are trying to influence its path.

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"I came together with comrade Ismail Khamis Jalab and comrade Mubarak Ardol".

"This happened despite their rejection of the forceful deportation", the statement said, adding that the move showed the military council's intention "not to hand power to the civilians and not to reach peace".

"That is not in keeping with our existing agreement with the Sudanese government and our insistence that the facilities be used exclusively for civilian purposes", she said.

The civil disobedience campaign was launched after men in military fatigues on June 3 raided the weeks-long sit-in leaving dozens of people dead, according to protest leaders who said several bodies were removed from the Nile. The government has confirmed 61 deaths, including three members of the security services. "I have not been released; I have been deported from my country", Yasir Arman, deputy chief of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), told an AFP reporter at a hotel in South Sudan's capital Juba.

Most shops, markets and banks in the capital, as well as in several other cities, remained closed on Monday as staff followed instructions from the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the pro-democracy opposition, to not attend work.

The DFCF alliance has tried to sustain the protest movement through a civil disobedience campaign that largely shut down Khartoum on Sunday.

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