June 10 (UPI) — At least four people were killed by Sudanese security forces Sunday as the opposition began a general strike that has emptied many of the capital’s streets in protest against the country’s military rule.
The Central Committee of Sudan doctors said the death toll rose to 118 after a 20-year-old died from an alleged gunshot wound to the chest by the military’s Rapid Support Forces in their effort to control the ongoing general strike.
Hours earlier, the doctors group, which is a leading member of the opposition Forces of Freedom and Change, reported that two people had died at a military hospital after having been beaten and stabbed by the RSF while a fourth person was killed earlier in the day after being shot.
Several others were being treated for injuries, it said.
The deaths occurred during an opposition-organized general strike that began Sunday with reports of widespread compliance.
According to the Sudanese professionals association on Monday, 100 percent of banks, pharmacies, ports and hospitals were participating in the strike while 90 percent of the agricultural and wealth ministry and the education ministry were also participating.
The strike was declared June 3 after government forces broke up a weeks-long sit-in protest outside military headquarters in Khartoum, killing dozens and injuring hundreds.
The protesters had been demanding that the military hand over rule of the country to the public.
Following April 11, when dictator president Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the military, the military formed the Transitional Military Council and began negotiations with the protesters over forming a new government.
However, any agreements made between the two sides were nullified and dialogue was terminated after the June 3 attack that the opposition described as a “massacre.”
Since then, the opposition has been calling on the public to stage a general strike to begin on Sunday, the first day of work following the Eid holiday.
On Saturday, the Sudanese Professionals Association warned the public that the military had been arresting political activists and protesters “in an attempt to break the planned civil disobedience and the general political strike” and was planning to attack citizens and their property and “attribute it the revolutionaries and to the [Freedom and Change] forces.”
“In the face of these catastrophic and repressive developments, we call upon the workers in all institutions and facilities, in the public and private sectors, to engage and strictly adhere to the tools of civil disobedience and the general political strike,” it said in a statement.
The SPA has said the strike will end when the TMC relinquishes power.
As a widespread internet blackout has persisted for nearly a week, strike organizers sent out text messages informing the public to remain home and to protest peacefully, the Sudan Tribune reported.
The TMC has deployed security forces since Saturday in order to quell the strike.