Doctors’ strike in Sudan enters second week
The strike called for by the Sudanese Central Doctors’ Committee has entered its second week. By last week, the strike action had spread to at least 38 hospitals in Sudan, with increased government pressure on medics to return to work.
Sudanese doctors have not only been treating those caught up in the violence, but also leading some protests. The UK Channel 4 TV station anonymously interviewed a doctor in Sudan who claimed that the security service deliberately arrested medics in Khartoum. “Wounded protesters end up in hospital. If you take out the doctors, you cripple the protests,” the doctor claimed.
Doctors started striking in several Sudanese states last week. Together with medical students of the Faculty of Medicine in El Gedaref they held a protest in front of El Gedaref Teaching Hospital in solidarity with the march organised by the Sudan Professionals Association in Khartoum on December 26. Witnesses from El Gedaref said that security forces and policemen forced the doctors to enter the hospital again before blocking traffic to the main road to the hospital.
Doctors in Kassala Hospital notified authorities on December 25 that they will only deal with emergencies. The same day, doctors and lawyers in Port Sudan, capital of Red Sea state, organised two separate protest vigils. The vigils were dispersed by police using tear gas.
On December 31, the security service in Sennar used tear gas to break up a peaceful march called by lawyers to hand over a memorandum. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga from Sennar that the march was joined by dozens of doctors, to hand over a memorandum to the judiciary demanding the regime to step down.
The Sudanese Central Pharmacists Committee, in cooperation with the Community Pharmacists Committee and the Department of Pharmacy Owners announced a general strike and closure of all pharmacies in Khartoum state last week, in solidarity with the doctors and mass protests.
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