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Sudan main opposition group rejects general strike call

Sudan’s main opposition group and supporter of the protest movement Sunday rejected its call to stage a two-day general strike because of a deadlock in talks with the ruling military.

“We reject the general strike announced by some opposition groups” in the umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, the National Umma Party said in a statement.

Its opposition to the strike slated to start Tuesday was a sign of division between protest leaders at a time of deadlock in talks with army generals over installing a civilian administration.

“A general strike is a weapon that should be used after it is agreed upon by everybody,” Umma said.

“We have to avoid such escalated measures that are not fully agreed.”

The National Umma Party led by former premier Sadiq Al-Mahdi said any such decision should be taken by a council of leaders of the protest movement.

Such a council was still not in place and “will be composed in a meeting on Monday”, it said.

It was Mahdi’s elected government that Omar al-Bashir, who himself was deposed last month, toppled in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989.

In a recent interview with AFP, Mahdi warned protesters not to “provoke” the army’s rulers as they had been instrumental in ousting Bashir.

The military toppled Bashir on April 11 after months-long protests across Sudan led by the Alliance for Freedom and Change against his ironfisted rule of three decades.

But the generals who seized power have resisted calls from protesters and the international community for civilian rule.

Thousands of demonstrators remain camped outside the army headquarters in central Khartoum demanding that the generals step down.

Talks between the generals and protest leaders remain deadlocked over who should lead a new governing body to oversee the formation of a civilian administration — a soldier or civilian.

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