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UN Chief Condemns Excessive Force Against Sudan Protesters

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned a Monday attack by Sudanese security forces

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UN Chief, Sudan Protesters
Sudanese protesters use burning tires to erect a barricade on a street, demanding that the country's Transitional Military Council hand over power to civilians, in Khartoum, Sudan, June 3, 2019. VOA

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned a Monday attack by Sudanese security forces that broke up a protest site in Khartoum and killed or wounded dozens of people.

“He condemns the use of force to disperse the protesters at the sit-in site, and he is alarmed by reports that security forces have opened fire inside medical facilities,” said a spokesman for Guterres at the United Nations in New York. “The Secretary-General reminds [Sudan’s] Transitional Military Council of its responsibility for the safety and security of the citizens of Sudan. He urges all parties to act with utmost restraint.”

Explosions and heavy machine gunfire were heard as security forces stormed a site outside the Defense Ministry where demonstrators had maintained a protest for the past eight weeks, demanding the military hand power over to a civilian authority.

Witnesses say that by mid-afternoon, the area had been cleared.

UN Chief, Sudan Protesters
An injured man is carried on a stretcher during protests in Khartoum, Sudan, June 3, 2019 in this image taken from a video obtained from social media. VOA

The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors, which is close to Sudan’s protest movement, now says the death toll stands at 30 with many more injured.

In remarks from the spokesman, Guterres also called for unimpeded access for first responders at the sit-in site and in hospitals where the wounded are treated, and called on Sudanese authorities to conduct an independent investigation and hold people accountable for the deaths.

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet also condemned the attack and urged the security forces to stop immediately.

“Those exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression must be protected, not targeted or detained,” Bachelet said in a statement. “This is a fundamental tenet of international human rights law.”

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The U.S. embassy in Khartoum tweeted that the attacks on protesters “must stop.”

The British embassy condemned the attack and called it an “outrageous step that will only lead to more polarization and violence.”

Details of the raid

The sit-in began in April as civilians and military officials argued over the makeup of a transitional government, following the military overthrow of Omar al-Bashir in April, after mass protests against his 30-year rule.

With batons in hand, Sudanese forces dressed in police and military uniforms surrounded protesters near the military headquarters and began forcing the demonstrators to leave. Video on several media outlets shows Sudanese forces beating protesters lying face down on the ground.

UN Chief, Sudan Protesters
In this image made from video, Sudanese forces escort civilian in Khartoum, Sudan on June 3, 2019. VOA

Protesters say rapid response forces and paramilitary units surrounded two Khartoum hospitals.

The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces — a coalition of political parties leading the protest — issued a statement calling on all demonstrators to continue with”the revolution.”Protesters later blocked roads leading into and out of Khartoum.

Protest organizers have suspended further talks with the Transitional Military Council and called for civil disobedience across the country until the military hands over power to civilians.

The organizers also say in the statement that security forces who killed protesters must be brought to justice.

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Media reports quote Transitional Military Council spokesman Shams El din Al Kabashi as saying the forces only targeted what he called “dangerous groups” that infiltrated the protesters in the sit-in area.

Kabashi says he believes that a return to negotiations is the quickest way to resolve the problem. (VOA)

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Zomato Delivery Executives in Bengaluru, Mumbai Protest as Company Claims Efficiency

According to Zomato executives, their incentives have been reduced while the company has increased the travel distance to make them eligible to earn bonus points

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Zomato NRAI
Zomato in a smartphone device. Pixabay

As thousands of Zomato delivery executives in Bengaluru and Mumbai protested against the revised rate cards, the online food aggregator on Monday said that reduced average delivery time (less than 30 minutes) has enabled its delivery partners to perform more deliveries in the same amount of time.

In Bengaluru, the remuneration per delivery has been reduced to Rs 30 from Rs 40.

“Different metrics such as base pay, user satisfaction, delivery touchpoints and minimum guarantee etc. help us appreciate our delivery partners in accordance with their efforts,” a Zomato spokesperson said in a statement.

“Reduced average delivery time and increased system efficiency have enabled our delivery partners to perform more deliveries in the same amount of time,” the spokesperson added.

The food delivery platform on September 7 said that it has laid off 541 people — 10 per cent of the company’s strength — across customer, merchant and delivery partner support teams.

zomato, NRAI
Founded in 1982, the NRAI represents the interests of over 5 lakh restaurants. Pixabay

The reason behind the move is an improved Zomato platform with Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven bots and automation in resolving customer queries that has led to an overall reduction in direct order-related support queries, the company had said.

“We regret the inconvenience caused to our users and are continuously working to resume our services in the affected areas,” said Zomato.

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According to Zomato executives, their incentives have been reduced while the company has increased the travel distance to make them eligible to earn bonus points.

The company, which is at the loggerheads with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) over deep discounts in its fine-dining Gold programme, claimed it has improved the speed of service resolution and now only 7.5 per cent of its orders need support (down from 15 per cent in March). (IANS)