Rival Sudan camps take to streets as tensions rise
Tens of thousands of supporters of Sudan's transition to a civilian-led democracy took to the streets Thursday, as rival demonstrators kept up a sit-in demanding a return to military rule. Both sides appealed to their supporters to keep apart and refrain from any violence, but there was a heavy police and troop presence around potential flashpoints. The two sides represent opposing factions of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), the civilian umbrella group which spearheaded the nationwide demonstrations that led to the army's overthrow of longtime president Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
Days after armed forces detained the Sudanese prime minister and dissolved his government, the leader behind the military takeover, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, appears to be backtracking on some of his actions. © Marwan Ali/AP
People protest in Khartoum, Sudan, after a military coup earlier this week, Oct. 29, 2021. The coup threatens to halt Sudan's fitful transition to democracy, which began after the 2019 ouster of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government in a popular uprising. It came after weeks of mounting tensions between military and civilian leaders over the course and pace of that process.
In South Sudan, flooding called 'worst thing in my lifetime'
MALUALKON, South Sudan (AP) — He feels like a man who has drowned. The worst flooding that parts of South Sudan have seen in 60 years now surrounds his home of mud and grass. His field of sorghum, which fed his family, is under water. Surrounding mud dykes have collapsed. Other people have fled. Only Yel Aguer Deng’s family and a few neighbors remain. This is the third straight year of extreme flooding in South Sudan, further imperiling livelihoods of many of the 11 million people in the world’s youngest country. A five-year civil war, hunger and corruption have all challenged the nation.
During a speech on Thursday, Burhan said they would be forming a new government, and that Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who has since been released, could once again be at the helm.
Regardless, civil disobedience continues across Sudan and mass, nationwide protests are planned for Saturday.
Related: Sudan’s ousted ambassador to the US says resorting to ‘the gun’ doesn’t aid the revolution
International pressure has been mounting against the military in recent days from the United States to the African Union.
On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council, currently helmed by Kenya, called on the military to restore Sudan’s joint military-civilian transitional government that was tasked with steering the country to democratic elections.
US 'deeply alarmed' by reports of military takeover in Sudan
The U.S. expressed alarm on Monday over an apparent military coup in Sudan, shortly after the Biden administration's special envoy for the Horn of Africa was in the country encouraging cooperation between civilian and military leaders of Khartoum's transitional government. Thousands of protesters took to the streets after reports emerged that the country's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok was detained, with some reports suggesting the leader was put under house arrest, in addition to reports of detention of other senior government officials. "The US is deeply alarmed at reports of a military take-over of the transitional government.
Cameron Hudson, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former US diplomat to Sudan
“The natural inclination from the international community is to cut a deal to find a way out of this, to relieve the pressure that's been growing and to cut some political deal that would preserve some of the military's interests, give the civilians what they want.”
“The natural inclination from the international community is to cut a deal to find a way out of this, to relieve the pressure that's been growing and to cut some political deal that would preserve some of the military's interests, give the civilians what they want,” said Cameron Hudson, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former US diplomat to Sudan.
The partnership between the military and civilians has been tense from the beginning when they agreed to share power following the ousting of former dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019.
Protests erupt across Sudan against military coup
Tensions came to a critical point on Monday when armed forces detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, Cabinet Affairs Minister Khalid Omer Yousif and other top civilian leaders. Related: After the revolution, a secular Sudan?“We still don’t know any news about the whereabouts of the prime minister, his wife, five of the ministers and a number of political leaders who were arrested in the early hours of this morning,” said Yousif’s adviser, Abdelmoniem el-Jack, over the phone from Khartoum.
This year, many in the Forces of Freedom and Change were becoming increasingly frustrated with what they saw as the military’s attempts to undermine the transitional government amid an already fractured political environment.
Related: Protests erupt across Sudan against military coup
“The question is, what is the arrangement that people are going to accept?” Hudson asked.
“Two years on, they're still attempting to seize power. This shows that any type or any form of partnership is just absurd,” said Samahir el-Mubarak, a pharmacist in Khartoum and a spokesperson for the Sudanese Professionals Association, which has been organizing nationwide strikes and protests all week.
Samahir el-Mubarak, a pharmacist in Khartoum and a spokesperson for the Sudanese Professionals Association
“Even if there are pressures to go back to the partnership, everybody should know that this is a time bomb that's going to explode any moment.”
“Even if there are pressures to go back to the partnership, everybody should know that this is a time bomb that's going to explode any moment,” she said.
Sudan’s military has seized power in a coup. Here’s why it matters
A coup in Sudan has been met by widespread international condemnation, amid growing fears about the country's democratic transition and economy. The military arrested civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and dissolved the country's transitional government on Monday, sparking protests in several cities. According to Reuters, seven people have been killed and 140 injured in the ensuing clashes between security forces and protesters.Experts say the coup could have a serious impact on the country and beyond.The coupTensions in Sudan have been simmering since an attempted coup on Sept.
In an interview with PBS NewsHour this week, however, the US Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman said that it was not realistic to sideline the military entirely during Sudan’s transition to democracy.
“There's a more fundamental issue at play here, which is the fact that the military, since Sudan's independence in 1956, except for a few very brief periods, has essentially run this country,” Hudson said.
But this could be a turning point. Despite a nationwide internet and telecommunications shutdown, protesters are planning mass peaceful demonstrations across Sudan on Saturday to reject the military takeover.
Related: Sudanese protester: 'Our numbers are too big to be ignored'
Mubarak said they are distributing leaflets, painting graffiti on the walls of Khartoum and setting up barricades to block armed military vehicles from harming them.
Multiple people have already died this week at the hands of armed forces according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors.
Videos circulating on social media show armed men flogging women, shaving the heads of youth and shooting into crowds of demonstrators.
But Mubarak said that is not going to stop them.
“We are aware that if we do not fix our country, if we do not set the way we want our future to be, nobody else will do it for us,” she said.
Grieving families of killed Sudanese protesters demand justice .
Young labourer Gamal Shazly first joined Sudan's street protests demanding full democracy almost three years ago, but in the end his desire for freedom cost him his life. His sister Dalia said that, amid Sudan's years of turmoil, Mohamed had "still held onto hopes for this country, and that's why he joined the protests".Shazly, 20, was among the more than one dozen demonstrators killed by security forces in violence that has shaken the capital since a military coup early last week.