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Protest leaders in Sudan call for a two-day general strike

Talks between the protest leaders and generals have been suspended since Monday

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Sudan

Sudan’s protest leaders have called for a two-day general strike starting Tuesday amid deadlock in talks with the ruling army generals on installing civilian rule, the key demand of demonstrators.

The umbrella protest movement, which led nationwide demonstrations against longtime leader Omar al-Bashir that led to his ouster on April 11, is at odds with the generals over the forming of a new governing body.

“There is no longer any alternative to using the weapon of a general strike,” the Alliance for Freedom and Change said in a statement Friday.

It said the strike, affecting “public and private institutions and companies”, would be accompanied by civil disobedience and was “an act of peaceful resistance with which we have been forced to proceed”.

Talks between the protest leaders and generals have been suspended since Monday after a disagreement over who should lead the new authority — a civilian or an officer.

The generals who seized power after Bashir was toppled have resisted calls from the demonstrators and the international community to step down.

Meeting demonstrators

The protest alliance said that on Saturday its leaders will hold meetings with demonstrators at the sit-in outside the military headquarters to consult the demonstrators on how to end the deadlock in talks with the generals.

Thousands of protesters remain camped at the sit-in demanding that the generals who seized power after ousting Bashir step down.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change has also called for rallies from residential areas in Khartoum heading towards the sit-in on Sunday.

On Thursday, employees of several companies as well as government institutions, including the central bank, held spontaneous demonstrations in parts of the capital in support of the protest movement.

Several rounds of talks have so far failed to finalise the makeup of the new ruling body, with both the generals and protest leaders insisting on their demands.

Western nations like the United States, Britain and Norway have consistently called on the generals to hand over power to a civilian administration, while the ruling army council has received support from regional allies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Days after Bashir was ousted, oil-rich Gulf states Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledged to inject $500 million into Sudan’s central bank and $2.5 billion to help provide food, medicine and petroleum products.

They said the move was aimed at shoring up the Sudanese pound.

In recent years Sudan has been hit by an acute lack of dollars, a key factor behind the nationwide protests that first erupted in December and led to the toppling of Bashir.

But the Western troika, which has previously been involved in mediation in Sudanese conflicts, reiterated this week that the two sides reach an agreement urgently.

“Any outcome that does not result in the formation of a government that is civilian-led, placing primary authority for governing with civilians, will not respond to the clearly expressed will of the Sudanese people for a transition to civilian rule,” the United States, Britain and Norwary said in a joint statement.

“This will complicate international engagement, and make it harder for our countries to work with the new authorities and support Sudan’s economic development.”

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North Africa

CAF says Morsi’s death will not affect tournament

Egypt play Zimbabwe in the opening match in Cairo on Friday.

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Confederation of African Football (CAF) building in Cairo, Egypt

Africa Cup of Nations organisers said Tuesday the death of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi would have no impact on the security situation in Egypt and the tournament would go ahead.

A source within the African Confederation of Football (CAF), speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was “no reason” that the tournament would be cancelled or postponed as a result of Morsi’s sudden death on Monday.

Egypt play Zimbabwe in the opening match in Cairo on Friday.

Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president who was overthrown after a turbulent year in power, collapsed and “died as he attended a hearing” over alleged collaboration with foreign powers and militant groups, the prosecutor general’s office said.

He was buried Tuesday in Cairo.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing — the Freedom and Justice Party — accused Egyptian authorities of “deliberately killing him slowly” by holding him in solitary confinement.

The United Nations and rights groups have demanded an independent probe into the conditions of Morsi’s detention and the circumstances of his death.

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Africa News & Updates

Morocco’s sale of 8% stake in Maroc Telecom to inject $920 million into state budget

52.74 million shares, priced at 127 dirhams will be sold as a block order to local institutional investors

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MAROC TELECOM STORE | Maroc Telecom has been sold by the Moroccan government

Morocco says it plans to sell off an 8 percent stake in Maroc Telecom, which will lead to an 8.87 billion dirham boost towards financing the country’s budget. This privatisation programme is aimed at improving state financing according to the Morocco capital market regulator, AMMC.

Another 6 percent stake in the company comprising of 52.74 million shares, priced at 127 dirhams will be sold as a block order to local institutional investors such as retirement funds, insurance companies and banks on June 17, according to the prospectus.

Related: Digital colonialism: The price Africa pays for cheap internet

The remaining 2 percent will be sold on the Casablanca stock exchange in a public offering at a share price of 125 dirhams starting on June 26 and closing on July 5 2019.

The 2 percent stake also includes 2.9 million shares, representing 0.3% of Maroc Telecom’s capital, to be sold to the company’s employees at a share price of 117.7 dirhams, the prospectus showed.

The sale will cut the state’s stake in the company to 22% from the current 30%. Maroc Telecom is listed on both the Casablanca stock exchange and the Euronext exchange in Paris.

Related: Formula One in talks to make African comeback

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Africa News & Updates

Morsi’s death: Timeline of events in Egypt since 2011 post-Mubarak era

Key dates in Egypt since the Tahrir Square-led revolt known which drove Hosni Mubarak out of power and events that led to Morsi’s death

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People carry images of Egypt's first popularly elected president Mohamed Morsi, who reportedly died from a heart attack on Monday

Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was buried in Cairo Tuesday, a day after he died following his collapse in court and nearly six years since his ouster by now President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, leaving the country in a leadership crisis as the incumbent plans perpetuity.

Here are key dates in Egypt since the Tahrir Square-led revolt known as the ‘January 25 revolution’ which drove Morsi’s predecessor Hosni Mubarak from power in February 2011.

Revolution

On January 25, 2011, thousands of Egyptians, inspired by the Tunisian revolt that toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, protest in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt demanding longtime dictator Mubarak’s overthrow.

On February 11, after days of vast protests centred in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Mubarak’s newly appointed vice president Omar Suleiman announces that the president has resigned and the army is in charge. 

A crackdown on the protests has left at least 850 dead.

Tens of thousands people take part in a mass rally against a decree by President Mohamed Morsi granting himself broad powers. News of Morsi's death are making the rounds in the media
Tens of thousands people take part in a mass rally against a decree by President Mohamed Morsi granting himself broad powers on November 27, 2012 at Egypt’s landmark Tahir Square in Cairo. Clashes between police and protesting youths erupted near Cairo’s Tahrir Square, ahead of the demonstration. The planned demonstrations came a day after Morsi stuck by his controversial decree in a meeting with judges that was aimed at defusing the worst political crisis since his election in June. AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Islamist victory

Islamist parties win a majority of seats at parliamentary elections between November 2011 and January 2012. 

On June 30, 2012, Morsi, a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader, wins 51.7 percent of the vote to become Egypt’s first civilian, democratically elected president. He is also the first Islamist to head the country.

Egypt’s military rulers dissolve parliament in June. In August, Morsi dismisses military chief Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and replaces him with Sisi, in a purge of top brass.

Morsi ousted

On July 3, 2013, following massive protests against Morsi’s divisive rule, the military led by Sisi overthrows Morsi and detains him. Morsi denounces a coup and calls on his supporters to defend his legitimacy.

On August 14, police disperse two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo, killing about 700 people in clashes, according to official figures.

The government names the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist organisation” in December.

Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi greeting press members as he stands behind the bars. Morsi's Death has been reported
Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi greeting press members as he stands behind the bars during his trial on charges of espionage on behalf of Qatar at the Police Academy in Cairo, Egypt. /Mohamed Gamil / Anadolu Agency

President Sisi

Sisi is elected president with 96.9 percent of the vote in May 2014. His election comes after the approval of a new constitution bolstering the military’s powers.

In late 2015 a new parliament is elected, packed with Sisi supporters.

Repression

Sisi presides over a fierce clampdown. Hundreds of suspected Islamists are sentenced to death or life in prison in mass trials slammed by rights groups.

Secular opposition activists are also jailed.

Local and international rights groups accuse the regime of torture, forced disappearances, summary executions and repression of dissent.

The authorities deny the accusations, pointing to the need for stability and the fight against terrorism.

Jihadist threat

The country also witnesses deadly attacks, perpetrated mainly by the Islamic State group, which kills hundreds of police officers and soldiers in attacks centred on the Sinai peninsula.

On October 31, 2015, a Russian airliner carrying tourists from an Egyptian beach resort explodes after taking off, killing all 224 people on board. IS says it had planted a bomb on the plane.

On November 24, 2017, a suspected IS attack on a mosque in the Sinai leaves more than 300 dead.

More than 100 die in attacks on Christians, also claimed by the group.

In February 2018, the army launches a vast “anti-terrorist” operation.

Backing for Sisi

In February 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin travels to Cairo for the first time in a decade and signs a deal to build the first Egyptian nuclear power plant.

In March 2015, the Obama administration lifts a partial freeze on military assistance decided after Morsi’s overthrow.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia visits Egypt in April 2016.

In April 2017, US President Donald Trump praises Sisi as the Egyptian leader visits Washington. Sisi is hosted at the White House for a second time in April 2019.

In October 2018, Sisi visits Paris, where he receives strong support from President Emmanuel Macron, who in turn visits Egypt the following January.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C-R) shaking hands with US Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. (L) days before Morsi's Death
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C-R) shaking hands with US Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. (L), commander of the US Central Command (USCENTCOM), as Sisi and Defence Minister General Mohamed Zaki (R) receive the General at the presidential palace in the capital Cairo. (Photo by – / EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY / AFP) /

Sisi boosted

In March 2018, Sisi is re-elected with 97.08 percent of the vote. His only opponent is one of his supporters.

In April 2019, a controversial constitutional revision allowing the extension of Sisi’s presidency and strengthening his powers is approved by referendum.

Morsi dies

People wave flags of Egypt during a protest against the military government in Egypt after Egypt's first popularly elected president Mohamed Morsi, who reportedly died from a heart attack on Monday at a court session
People wave flags of Egypt during a protest against the military government in Egypt after Egypt’s first popularly elected president Mohamed Morsi, who reportedly died from a heart attack on Monday at a court session, at the Times General Square in New York, United States on June 17, 2019. Atilgan Ozdil / Anadolu Agency

On June 17, 2019, Morsi collapses in court during a retrial over charges of collaborating with foreign powers and militant groups.

He arrives at hospital dead, according to the attorney general’s office.

Rights groups say the Islamist was denied medical treatment in detention and demand an investigation.

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