Sudanese protesters began a national strike yesterday to pressure the military to hand over power to civilians five months into mass protests that have rocked the African nation. Wajdi Saleh, a negotiator for the protesters, says they resorted to holding the strike after negotiations with the military council became deadlocked over the makeup and leadership of a sovereign council that would run the country in a three-year transition period.
Hundreds of passengers were stranded at Khartoum airport as scores of employees at the facility went on strike, chanting "civilian rule, civilian rule," an Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondent there said. Sudanese airlines Badr, Tarco and Nova suspended flights yesterday, although some international flights were still scheduled. Passengers were also stranded at Khartoum's main bus terminal as hundreds of employees observed the strike.
Since President Omar al-Bashir's ousting, the protesters have expressed fears the military will cling to power and undermine all attempts to instate a civilian government in a country that lived for decades under military dictatorship.
Protests first broke out on Dec. 19 in response to the tripling of bread prices, swiftly turning into nationwide rallies against al-Bashir's three-decade rule. Protesters, who were initially jubilant over the word of the coup, reacted by saying they will not end their nearly weeklong sit-in outside the military's headquarters in central Khartoum until a civilian transition government is formed.