Sudan's largest opposition bloc joined calls by a wide array of political groups for President Omar al-Bashir to step down, turning up the pressure after two weeks of street protests. Nidaa al-Sudan, or Sudan's Call, said in a statement yesterday that it wanted al-Bashir and his administration to go.
The Sudanese National Front for Change (NFC) and the Umma Party also announced their intention to submit a memorandum to President Omar al-Bashir demanding the appointment of a "transitional council" to temporarily run the country's affairs. The announcement was made at a Tuesday press conference organized by the NFC, an umbrella group of political parties, and the Umma Party led by Mubarak al-Fadil, a former deputy prime minister.
The government has acknowledged that the protests started peacefully but said they turned violent when saboteurs infiltrated them. It has imposed emergency law in parts of Sudan along with nighttime curfews. Authorities have also suspended classes in schools and universities across much of the country. Sudanese authorities say at least 19 people have been killed in street demonstrations that swept several Sudanese states against rising prices and shortages of basic commodities earlier this month. Opposition groups, for their part, say the death toll is closer to 40. A nation of 40 million, Sudan has struggled to recover from the loss of three-quarters of its oil output-its main source of foreign currency-when South Sudan seceded in 2011.