May 28 (UPI) -- Public services in Sudan were brought to a halt Tuesday as thousands began a 48-hour strike intended to force the military-led government to transition to civilian leadership.
The two-day campaign of civil disobedience affected airports, hospitals and other basic services throughout Sudan. The country has been in turmoil since April 11 when 30-year dictator Omar Al-Bashir was deposed and arrested for the deaths of protesters who opposed his rule. The military seized power and many Sudanese are now pushing for a civilian-led government.
So far, the Transitional Military Council hasn't been willing to give up power, and negotiations on how to structure a new ruling council have deadlocked. Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces representative Wajdi Saleh said late Monday there was "still no breakthrough," but they would renew talks if the military agrees.
"We hope that we reach an agreement with the military council and won't have to go an indefinite strike," Saleh said.
Deputy Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo said the council would hand power over soon, but said the DFCF wanted to relegate the military to a ceremonial role.
The TMC said if an agreement can't be reached, Sudan should stage elections.
"We are not saying we will not negotiate," Dagalo said. "But we have to guarantee that all the Sudanese people are participating in the matter."
Sudan's People's Liberation Movement representative Mubarak Ardol said, though, a transparent census is needed before any elections can be held because many Sudanese are displaced and would be excluded.
Travelers at the Khartoum airport and the city's main bus terminal have been stranded as striking workers carried banners or wore badges that read, "We are on strike." Sudanese airlines Badr, Tarco and Nova suspended most flights Tuesday.