CAIRO, EGYPT The Sudanese Trade Union Association and several opposition parties issued a call for a one-day general strike on Tuesday, excluding critical fields like pharmacies and hospitals. Witness reports in the capital Khartoum and its sister city Omdurman indicate the strike call was being observed by the overwhelming majority of the population.
Arab news channels broadcast amateur video of empty streets in Khartoum and neighboring Omdurman on Tuesday, indicating the large majority of people heeded the call for a one-day general strike by all but critical professions.
The Sudanese Trade Union Association, which is behind the strike call, noted in a tweet that the strike is a "step in the direction of an across-the-board civil disobedience campaign to paralyze the government."
Sky News Arabia said on its website that "activists report that streets in the capital Khartoum and Omdurman to the west are empty, as thousands of citizens heed the strike call."
Former Prime Minister Sadeq al Mahdi, who was ousted by current President Omar al-Bashir in 1989, called on the embattled president to "step down," in a speech to supporters several days ago.
He says that the Sudanese people would like to reach a historic stepping stone and that it be peaceful, putting an end to bloodshed and achieving the legitimate demands of the people.
President Bashir, writing on his Facebook page Tuesday, insisted that "peace remains the essential principle of the state, given the over-riding belief that war is antithetical to development and stability."
He also told supporters in a televised speech that the government must address the needs of young people.
He says that we are doing our best to improve sports facilities for youth, renovating old facilities, and enlarging others in order to give them a place to channel their energies.
Amid ongoing protests, some political leaders appear to be straddling the fence. Democratic Union Party head Ahmed Bilal Osman told supporters he opposes chaos.
He says that he is against a leap into the unknown and anything that creates more tension and polarization.
Rabiah Abdel Atti, a spokesman for the ruling General Congress Party, told al Hurra TV that President Bashir has indicated that he will not run for re-election in 2020 and that efforts should be made to reach a political consensus.
He says that a peaceful solution must eventually be found to the ongoing crisis and that many of the political parties and leaders that are calling for protests do not represent the Sudanese people and should not speak for them.
Democracy activist Akram Moukhtar, however, says that President Bashir "has a long history of not responding to the demands of the Sudanese people for liberty and democracy." He added that Bashir also "promised a number of years ago not to run for re-election and he still ran again."
Source: Voice of America