On the second day of the Sudanese civil disobedience campaign, the roads in Khartoum witnessed more traffic than on Sunday, the first day of the strike.
This (Monday) morning witnessed the return of traffic to the main streets and markets in in Khartoum. Some shops kept their doors closed, and a number of parents declined to send their children to school. The appearance of several students and teachers at schools caused some confusion, journalists told Radio Dabanga.
They said that a number of shops in downtown Khartoum re-opened this morning, while others stayed committed to the civil disobedience campaign, in particular pharmacies and gold stores.
Most of the groceries, greengrocers, butchers, and other shops in the residential districts kept their doors closed as well, though security agents ordered them to open. They also threatened government employees with dismissal if they would stay at home for another day.
“This government has not been able to provide the most basic services to the people.”
Since Thursday, political activists, using the hashtag #Sudan_Civil_Disobedience, began to post calls for a nationwide strike on the internet, in protest against the soaring prices in the country. The austerity measures taken this month caused transportation tariffs and the prices of basic commodities, in particular medicines, to double.
Journalist Hassan Barkia described the roads in Khartoum today “as if it was a weekend day, not a busy Monday. It is clear that the people welcome the campaign.”
He said that a three-day civil disobedience action “will not change the regime. However, it is a strong indication that the Sudanese are prepared to continue their struggle for a better life.”
Ashraf Abdelaziz, editor-in-chief of the independent El Jareeda newspaper attributed the increase of traffic compared to the situation of yesterday to the people’s fear of reprisals from the authorities.
He noted however that “The response of many people to the young activists’ calls for civil disobedience is a new development. We haven’t seen this in the Sudanese political arena before.”
A number of women joined the women members of the National Umma Party who began a three-day hunger strike at the party’s headquarters in Omdurman on Sunday, in solidarity with the civil disobedience action.
Hadya Hasaballah told this station from Omdurman that she joined the hunger strike as part of the Deliverance Programme, “in order to get rid of this government that has not been able to provide the most basic services to the people”.