Shops Reopen As Sudan Protesters Agree to Talks with Generals
By Staff, Agencies
Shops and restaurants began to reopen in Sudan’s capital Wednesday after demonstrators called off a nationwide civil disobedience campaign and agreed to new talks, though many residents remained indoors after last week’s deadly crackdown.
The apparent breakthrough in the standoff between the military rulers who toppled President Omar al-Bashir and protesters demanding civilian rule followed mediation led by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis – triggered by a June 3 crackdown on protesters that killed dozens – got a boost as Washington nominated experienced Africa hand Donald Booth as a special envoy to Sudan to help craft a “peaceful political solution” between the generals and protesters.
Talks collapsed last month because the two sides disagreed about whether a civilian or soldier should head a new governing body.
An AFP correspondent who toured parts of the capital Wednesday morning saw buses waiting for passengers at their stations, while shops in some districts reopened.
Later in the day several restaurants reopened and street vendors came back to work. But the main gold market in central Khartoum remained shut, and many residents stayed indoors. “I’m still staying at my home because I’m worried about the presence of security forces carrying guns on the streets,” Samar Bashir, an employee of a private company, said.
The paramilitary Rapid Support Forces – accused of playing a leading role in last week’s crackdown – continued to patrol districts in their trademark pickup trucks fitted with heavy machine guns.
Street sweepers cleared piles of trash, while long queues at bank cash points returned across the capital and other towns.