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Sudan trade unions call for march to presidency as protests grow | Sudan News





Trade unions and professional associations in Sudan have called for a nationwide work stoppage to protest against price hikes and worsening economic conditions, as doctors vowed to continue their indefinite strike.

Sudanese doctors launched their strike at 8am on Monday, according to activists, but said they would continue to deal with emergencies as the deadly protests entered the sixth day.

At least 12 people have been killed in the protests that erupted on Wednesday. Opposition groups, however, claim that at least 22 people have been killed in the unrest that has swept across the north African country.

The trigger of the protests was the rise in bread prices, but underlying these protests is a long-standing public discontent over the economic and political policies of Bashir’s regime

Mohamed Osman, independent Sudanese analyst

The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella coalition for professional unions, called for a march on Tuesday from Abu Janzir Square in central Khartoum towards the presidential palace, demanding that President Omar al-Bashir step down immediately.

In a statement published on Sunday, the coalition said it would submit an official demand on Tuesday for the “president’s immediate resignation in response to the uprising by the Sudanese people… (and the) formation of a transitional government”.

‘Real reforms’

The Sudanese government on Monday affirmed that it will carry out economic reforms to “ensure a decent living for citizens”, according to the official Sudan news agency, in its first comment since the protests began.

“The state will take real reforms to guarantee a decent life for citizens,” said Bashir.

The coalition brings together syndicates and professional bodies that represent Sudanese doctors, lawyers, journalists, veterinarians, university professors and engineers.

Sporadic protests continued in Manaqil and Rufaa cities on Monday, according to AFP, while bigger protests erupted after a football match in Omdurman, a city on the opposite side of the Nile from Khartoum, on Sunday night.

Football fans leaving the match chanted slogans against the president and clashed with police who used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the fans, according to activists.

Video clips posted online showed them chanting “the people want to bring down the regime” – one of the main slogans of the Arab Spring uprisings.

Sudanese authorities have maintained a state of emergency in a number of provinces, while schools and universities continue to be suspended in an attempt by the government to limit the escalation of protests.

There have also been reports of limited access to social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.

Omdurman Islamic University students hold a demonstration in Khartoum, Sudan. The protest was one in a series of anti-government protests across Sudan, initially sparked by rising prices and shortages. [AP Photo]

Sudanese diaspora mobilises

Meanwhile, Sudanese communities abroad have organised protests to show their support for the demonstrators in their home country.

“The Sudanese diaspora feels very strongly about what is happening in Sudan,” said Wafa May Elamin, a Sudanese-American activist, and co-organiser of a demonstration that is to take place at the Sudanese embassy in Washington, DC, on Monday.

“We hope to shed light on the issues facing people in Sudan, and gain the attention of the international community,” she told Al Jazeera.

Insaaf Abbas, a Sudanese-British activist, told Al Jazeera that members of the Sudanese community also held a demonstration in central Manchester, in northwest England, earlier on Monday.

“We are protesting to show our support for Sudan and to raise awareness in international media about what’s happening there,” said Abbas.

Other protests are planned to take place in several cities over the next few days across Canada, the US, Australia and the UK, according to British and American Sudanese activists.

Long-standing issues

The United States lifted its 20-year-old trade sanction on the country in 2017, but Sudan’s economic woes have continued to worsen over the past few years.

The country of 40 million people has struggled to recover from the loss of three-quarters of its oil output, which was its main source of foreign currency, when South Sudan seceded in 2011.

Although initially, the protests appeared to be tied to a recent increase in the price of a loaf of bread from one Sudanese pound to three, analysts believe the people’s grievances run deeper than that.

“The trigger of the protests was the rise in bread prices, but underlying these protests is a long-standing public discontent over the economic and political policies of Bashir’s regime,” Mohamed Osman, an independent Sudanese analyst, told Al Jazeera. 

“This is the second and stronger wave of what happened in September 2013. The government managed to survive then. But this time, the protesters seem more determined and out of the shock of mass killing that they suffered the previous time.”

A wave of protests erupted across Sudan in September 2013 after Bashir announced an end to fuel and other subsidies. Tens of people were killed in the protests, according to government estimates, while activists say fatalities were in the hundreds.

“Also, in terms of geography, the previous demonstrations were concentrated in Khartoum, where the government maintains a strong security presence. This week’s protests started in the northern states which are the heartland of the trade unions as well as Bashir’s ethnic base,” Osman, the analyst said.

The ruling National Congress Party said it understands the people’s anger over the economic situation, but spokesman Ibrahim el-Sadik accused Israel and “left-wing parties” of being behind the protests, according to AFP news agency.

On Sunday, the Sudanese military reiterated its support for al-Bashir in a statement, saying that it “stands behind its leadership”, according to the official SUNA news agency. This came after some senior military officers had reportedly joined protesters in the cities of Atbara, Gadarif and Port Sudan.


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Ottawa transit commission hopes to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines for OC Transpo workers





Ottawa’s transit commission is pushing local and provincial health officials to recognize the role OC Transpo operators have played in keeping the city running during the COVID-19 pandemic, hoping to bump train and bus drivers in the vaccination queue amid a recent surge in coronavirus infections affecting transit workers.

More than 100 OC Transpo staff across the entire organization have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to an update at Wednesday morning’s transit commission meeting.

Of those cases, 26 employees are currently recovering from the disease in self-isolation.

OC Transpo has seen a recent jump in COVID-19 cases, with Ottawa city council receiving reports of eight operators testing positive for the virus over a recent eight-day period.

Transit commissioner Sarah Wright-Gilbert attempted to find out how many of the total cases are traced to workplace transmission, but OC Transpo boss John Manconi said he’s been advised by medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches that he can’t share that information for privacy reasons.

Transit operators are listed in the second priority group of essential workers as part of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine sequencing plans, but several commissioners speaking Wednesday wanted to get the city’s bus and train drivers bumped higher in the order.

Councillors Riley Brockington and Glen Gower both put forward motions looking to get front-line OC Transpo employees prioritization in vaccine sequencing, but others pointed out that the much-debated public health topic of who gets the vaccine and when is well beyond the scope of the transit commission.

“We are not in a position in transit commission to be decreeing, or making an edict, about what group of essential workers is more at risk than others and should be prioritized. That should be left up to public health experts,” Wright-Gilbert said.

Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Keith Egli, who also chairs the Ottawa Board of Health, reflected on the board’s four-plus-hour meeting on Monday evening, during which vaccine sequencing and prioritizing essential workers dominated the conversation.

“Vaccine sequencing is obviously a very difficult maze to get through,” he said.

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COVID-19: Ottawa police announce end of 24-7 presence at Ontario-Quebec border





Less than two days after the Ontario government’s latest COVID-19 restrictions came into effect, calling for non-essential traffic to be stopped at the province’s borders with Quebec and Manitoba, the Ottawa Police Service has announced it is stopping its 24-hour checkpoints.

According to a statement issued by the service Tuesday evening, the around-the-clock border checkpoints were set to end as of 8 p.m. on Tuesday in favour of rotating checkpoints across the city throughout the day until Ontario’s temporary regulations end.

“Since the onset of the border operations, the OPS has been working closely with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) along with local stakeholders and interprovincial stakeholders (the City of Ottawa, the City of Gatineau, the Ontario Provincial Police etc.) to assess any local public health, traffic and safety impacts. The assessment resulted in today’s operational changes,” the statement said.

“The operational changes announced today are designed to better ensure the health and safety of all, to minimize delays and/or hazards for travellers and to ensure essential workers can get to their places of employment on time.”

The statement also said the police service, while working to comply with the provincial order, was focused on education and enforcement actions that “support improved public health outcomes and respect the concerns of our most marginalized and racialized communities”

Officers said they will be conducting daily assessments on border crossings and that there could be further changes.

In a statement to Global News, a spokesperson for Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said that the border closures are ultimately subject to the discretion of local police enforcing the regulations.

“Local police services are best positioned to determine the operational deployments necessary to ensure the continued safety of their communities,” the spokesperson said, noting that the order’s regulations still apply to individuals entering the province.

The temporary order restricts Quebec residents from entering Ontario. If prompted, individuals must stop when directed by an enforcement officials and provide their reason for entering the province.

The main exemptions to the restrictions include if the person’s main home is in the province, if they work in Ontario, if they’re transporting goods, if they’re exercising Indigenous or treaty rights, if they need health care or if there’s a basis on compassionate grounds.

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COVID-19 vaccines in Ottawa: Nearly half of all residents in their 60s have at least one dose





OTTAWA — Ottawa Public Health’s latest COVID-19 vaccination update shows that nearly half of all residents 60 to 69 years old have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, a figure that has all but doubled in the past week.

OPH’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard shows 58,000 residents 60 to 69 have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, accounting for 49.3 per cent of that age group’s population in Ottawa. Last Wednesday, OPH reported 30,000 residents 60 to 69 had had at least one dose, which was 25.4 per cent.

As age demographics get younger, the population grows larger and the coverage by percentage may appear to grow more slowly, even if clinics are vaccinating greater numbers of people. For example, the latest figures show that 83 per cent of people aged 70 to 79 have had at least one dose. By raw population that’s 60,000 people, only slightly higher than half of all people in their 60s.

Vaccinations are open through the Ontario portal to anyone 60 and older and, this week, the AstraZeneca vaccine was approved for administration at pharmacies and primary care clinics to anyone in Ontario 40 and older.

OPH reported a new shipment this week of 25,740 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. To date, Ottawa has received 305,130 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the provincial government.

The number of eligible residents (i.e. 16 and older) with at least one dose of a vaccine is now up to 28 per cent.

Tuesday was Ottawa’s second-busiest day for vaccinations overall, with the OPH reporting 9,729 shots administered. Last Friday saw 9,887 shots administered in a single day.


  • Ottawa residents with at least one dose: 248,668
  • Ottawa residents with two doses: 26,722
  • Percent of eligible population (residents 16 and older) with at least one dose: 28 per cent
  • Percent of eligible population (residents 16 and older) with two doses: 3 per cent
  • Percent of total population with at least one dose: 24 per cent
  • Percent of total population with two doses: 3 per cent


  • 10-19: 1.6 per cent (1,804 people)
  • 20-29: 8.3 per cent (13,452 people)
  • 30-39: 9.5 per cent (14,999 people)
  • 40-49: 12.9 per cent (17,350 people)
  • 50-59: 28.8 per cent (40,320 people)
  • 60-69: 49.3 per cent (58,627 people)
  • 70-79: 82.9 per cent (62,808 people)
  • 80-89: 87.5 per cent (29,358 people)
  • 90+: 89.2 per cent (7,893 people)
  • Unknown age: 2,057 people 

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