World, Africa

Sudan: Doctors, teachers call for strike amid protests

President al-Bashir, blamed for Sudan's economic woes, denies security forces killed protesters

20.01.2019
Sudan: Doctors, teachers call for strike amid protests file photo

By Mohammed Amin

KHARTOUM, Sudan

Amid calls for a general strike, Sudan's president on Sunday denied that security organs or police had killed peaceful protesters in demonstrations that have gone on for more than a month.

Addressing a rally in the White Nile state, Omar al-Bashir said investigations have proven that militants led the protesters, accusing rebels of the Sudan Liberation Movement Abdul Wahid faction of sabotaging the protests.

“We have arrested many of those involved in the killing of the protesters, and even the doctor killed last Thursday was killed by ammunition not belonging to the police or security organs," he stated.

He further reiterated that he will not step down, except through elections set for 2020.

Separately, protests continued in many residential areas including Omdurman, Kafuri, Burri, and others.

Call for general strike

Sudanese doctors and school teachers on Sunday called for a general strike in support of the ongoing protests. 

In a statement, the Teachers Committee urged all teachers across Sudan to join the strike in solidarity with the anti-government protests. 

“We call on schoolteachers all across Sudan to join the Sudanese uprising by not going to work,” the Teachers Committee said. 

“We also protest against our bad situation as teachers, the miserable conditions of schools, and lack of funding for education,” it added. 

The Central Committee of the Sudanese Doctors also called on its members to stay away from work in protest of the killing of a doctor last Thursday as well as repeated attacks on hospitals. 

“We are striking today as the situation has reached a critical point,” the committee said in a statement. 

“The situation is miserable,” it said. “Doctors have been assaulted and hospitals attacked.” 

On Thursday, a doctor was killed while rescuing protesters in Khartoum when security forces used live ammunition to disperse demonstrators. 

Since mid-December, Sudan has been rocked by mass demonstrations in several parts of the country. 

Protesters blame al-Bashir and his ruling National Congress Party for their apparent failure to remedy the country’s economic woes and are calling for his resignation. 

On Sunday, the Independent Professional Union, which leads the anti-government protests, called on fresh rallies in the city of Omdurman to submit a petition to the parliament calling on al-Bashir to step down. 

“Our marches will continue today from Omdurman to hand over the petition to parliament,” it said in a statement. “We again warn the authorities not to use violence against peaceful protesters.” 

According to government statements, more than 20 people have been killed in clashes between demonstrators and security forces since the protests began in earnest a month ago. 

Opposition groups, for their part, put the death toll at closer to 40.

In power since 1989, al-Bashir has pledged to carry out urgent economic reforms amid ongoing calls by the opposition to continue demonstrating. 

A nation of 40 million, Sudan has struggled to recover from the loss of some three quarters of its oil output -- its main source of foreign currency -- since the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

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