Su­dan bans 3 more dailies re­port­ing on gen­eral strike

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

KHAR­TOUM — Su­danese au­thor­i­ties have banned three more news­pa­pers on Tues­day, seiz­ing all copies ahead of dis­tri­bu­tion as a gen­eral strike against fuel sub­sidy cuts and price hikes con­tin­ued for the third day.

e in­de­pen­dent dailies banned in­clude the Al-Ayam, Su­dan’s old­est news­pa­per, as well as Al-Ta­yar and Al-Youm al-Tali. The move brings to four the num­ber of news­pa­pers banned since Mon­day, when au­thor­i­ties shut­tered the daily Al-Ja­reeda. The pri­vately-owned Om­dur­man TV net­work was also closed on Mon­day.

Al-Ta­yar’s edi­tor in chief, Os­man Mirghani, said that se­cu­rity agents came to the daily’s print­ing press at the break of dawn to col­lect all is­sues be­fore they were dis­trib­uted. The au­thor­i­ties of­fered no ex­pla­na­tion for the raid but Mirghani said “we sus­pect our cov­er­age of the civil dis­obe­di­ence was the rea­son”.

Dozens of ac­tivists and mem­bers of op­po­si­tion par­ties were ar­rested on Mon­day — the se­cond day of the three-day cam­paign — over al­le­ga­tions they en­gi­neered the call for the strike, in a day that saw the streets and class­rooms of the cap­i­tal Khar­toum largely de­serted

On the third day of the cam­paign, traf­fic re­mained slow on the streets of Khar­toum and a large num­ber of shops were closed. School stu­dents reg­is­tered their at­ten­dance at classes then went right back home, ac­cord­ing to an AP cam­era­man.

“Street traf­fic is less than half its nor­mal rate to­day,” he said.

Six fe­male ac­tivists con­tin­ued their hunger strike and sit-in for the third con­sec­u­tive day at the head­quar­ters of Na­tional Umma Party (NUP) in Om­dur­man, one of the ac­tivists, Amal Hab­bani, said.

“We have one re­quest: the re­moval of the gov­ern­ment of Omar al-Bashir”, she said. Su­dan’s Pres­i­dent Omar al-Bashir has been in power since 1989.

The hunger strike will con­tinue till Tues­day evening when the de­clared three-day dis­obe­di­ence cam­paign is meant to come to an end, said Hab­bani. She noted a “strong se­cu­rity pres­ence” around the party’s premises since the start of the sit-in, adding that the six ac­tivists were not mem­bers of the Umma party but chose the lo­ca­tion “be­cause it is con­sid­ered as a safe place”.

The Umma party of for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Sadiq al-Mahdi, is­sued a state­ment say­ing it “stands with the de­ci­sions of the Su­danese peo­ple”.

The gov­ern­ment’s aus­ter­ity mea­sures spiked fuel prices by around 30 per­cent and also tar­geted elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion. This led to a sharp rise in the cost of goods, trans­port and medicines.

The Su­danese pound has lost more than 60 per­cent of its value against the dol­lar over the past six months. — AFP

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