AFC threatens civil disobedience after successful Sudan general strike
The Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC) has confirmed that the two-day general strike on Tuesday and Wednesday was a resounding success. It threatened to resort to civil disobedience if the military junta does not respond to the demands for the transfer of power to civilians, and the formation of a Sovereign Council with a civilian majority and a civilian presidency.
The AFC declared its readiness to provide full legal protection to striking workers “being subjected to arbitrary procedures” during a press conference in Khartoum on Wednesday evening.
AFC leader El Taj Ismail confirmed the alliance’s total rejection of the attacks on striking staff of the Central Bank of Sudan, electricity companies, the Khartoum International Airport, and the Khartoum Land Port. He threatened further peaceful escalation in the event the Transitional Military Council (TMC) does not hand over power to civilians and uses violence against strikers.
AFC leading member Babikir Feisal categorically rejected the recent statements of Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, TMC deputy chairman and commander of the Rapid Support Forces militia. Hemeti said on Tuesday that the strike was causing problems for the people and suggested that foreign powers were behind it. He also claimed bus owners were paid to participate in the strike.
On Monday, the evening before the strike began, he said in a speech to policemen that the TMC will not hand over the entire government to the AFC. “We are more popular than them and we will distribute power according to mass weight”, he said.
Feisal called Hemeti’s remarks a threat to the negotiations with the AFC. He also said that Hemeti’s statements contradicted the statements of the TMC’s spokesman, who stressed that they would not back down from trying to reach an agreement with the AFC.
Feisal stressed that the AFC categorically rejects holding early elections. He said the AFC considers this a violation of the negotiating process with the TMC. He explained that it is not possible to hold elections within three months while millions of Sudanese stay in refugee and displacement camps. Also, the state is still under the control of remnants of the former regime, so preconditions have to be met before fair elections can be held.
Feisal denied the existence of a joint political committee between the TMC and the AFC, stressing the absence of any kind of official communication since the cessation of negotiations last week. He also denied the existence of any mediation between the TMC and the AFC.
Another AFC leader, Siddig Faroug, warned that they will be forced to broaden the civil disobedience actions, in case the TMC continues its current position. "We have sent a clear message to the military junta through the strike. If the TMC does not respond to our demands, we will resort to civil disobedience. We hope that we will not have to do that."
AFC leader Mohamed Hasan El Mahdi pointed at the continuation of the sit-ins and the rallies and other activities that will be organised during the coming days. He also said that the AFC held meetings with a number of institutions and associations, such as the Ansar El Sunna (the Salafist movement in Sudan), the Sufi General Assembly, and the Union of Employers. The AFC will continue its meetings with various parties “to unify the views on the future”.
On Saturday, the AFC will hold a workshop on ‘alternative policies and emergency programmes’.
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