Reuters) – Banks in the Sudanese capital Khartoum were closed on Wednesday on the second day of strikes organized by protest and opposition groups to pressure military rulers to cede power to civilians.
Several banks visited by a Reuters reporter were fully closed, and cash machines had not been restocked for several days. Employees at the central bank were also on strike.
“We are committed to the strike in order to achieve peaceful rule,” said an employee of the Blue Nile Mashreg Bank in Khartoum. “And we are ready to participate in civil disobedience if the Freedom and Change Forces ask us to.”
The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance had called for a two-day strike of public and private enterprises from Tuesday.
The action comes during a lull in talks between the alliance and the ruling military council that forced out ex-President Omar al-Bashir last month. The two sides are deadlocked over who will control a political transition, though discussions are continuing at a lower level.
Protesters have kept up a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry since before Bashir was ousted.
Not everyone has observed the strike, with buses and most air transport still operating. Shops, including clothes and shoe retailers where people buy gifts ahead of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday ending the holy month of Ramadan next week, were open.
But the strike has been widespread in the financial sector, already struggling from an economic crisis that led to shortages of fuel and cash and helped trigger the 16 weeks of mass protests against Bashir’s rule.
It was also being widely followed in the medical and power sectors. Port services were restricted to passenger ships for pilgrims, according to media and social media reports.
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