Many shops and business stayed closed and troops watched the streets of Sudan's capital Khartoum Tuesday, the third day of a civil disobedience campaign, while vehicles manned by heavily armed units of the feared Rapid Support Forces (RSF) patrolled Khartoum.
Protest leaders stepped up the pressure on the generals by announcing they would soon release a list of members for a new ruling body, the key point of dispute between the two sides. A leader of the Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) said on Monday night that the alliance had decided to nominate eight members to the council and to name Abdullah Hamdouk, a former executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, as new prime minister.
On the second day of a nationwide civil disobedience campaign by protesters against military's deadly attacks, internet lines from telecom firm Sudatel stopped working in the capital Khartoum on Monday afternoon, an Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondent said, adding the outage had affected embassies, luxury hotels and offices. "It's the first time Sudatel has cut off everything in the country," a spokesman for the Netblocks internet watchdog said. "It was not switching off data centers, more like a digital cutting of all lines," he said.
The campaign follows a crackdown by security forces which killed dozens of people and the collapse of talks between the military and the opposition which had been aimed at bringing civilian rule to Sudan after the overthrow of the authoritarian president Omar al-Bashir in April. RSF also committed multiple sexual assaults, according to reports. The raid came after weeks of wrangling between the military council that took over from al-Bashir and DFCF alliance over who should control a transition leading to elections. The Sudan Doctors' Committee said at least 117 people have been killed since Monday. The government has put last week's death toll at 61, including three members of the security services.
Since toppling al-Bashir on April 11, the generals have resisted demonstrators' demands, backed by Western and most African governments, to make way for a civilian-led transition. Protests first broke out on Dec. 19 in response to the tripling of bread prices, which swiftly turned into nationwide rallies against al-Bashir's three-decade rule. The army ousted al-Bashir in April after months of protests against his autocratic rule. Protesters, who were initially jubilant over 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. But the generals, backed by key regional powers, have resisted calls from protesters to hand over power to civilians. Thousands of protesters camped outside army headquarters, demanding the generals step down. Before suspending talks last week, protesters and the generals agreed on several key issues, including a three-year transition and the creation of a 300-member parliament, with two-thirds of the lawmakers coming from the protesters' umbrella group. But negotiations stalled as protest leaders insisted that a civilian must head the new sovereign council, with civilians making up the majority of its members, proposals that have been rejected by the military.