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Sudanese set for nationwide protests against military coup -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Sudanese demonstrations marched and chanted during protests against military takeovers, at Atbara in Sudan, October 27, 2021. See this image on social media. Ebaid Ahmad via REUTERS

KHARTOUM (Reuters – Sudanese opposition leaders have demanded nationwide protests to demand that the government be restored to civilian control. The goal is to restore democracy in the country after decades of authoritarian rule.

    Thousands of Sudanese have already taken to the streets this week against the coup led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who dissolved Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s cabinet in a coup that has led Western states to freeze hundreds of millions in aid.

    With at least 11 protesters killed in clashes with security forces this week, opponents of the junta fear a full-blown crackdown and more bloodshed.

    “The army should go back to its barracks and give the leadership to Hamdok,” said an activist who gave his name as Mohamed, who plans to protest. “We demand a civil country and a democracy, not less.”

    The United States, which is calling for the restoration of the civilian-led government, said how the army reacts on Saturday will be a test of its intentions.

    “We call on the security forces to refrain from any and all violence against protesters and to fully respect the citizens’ right to demonstrate peacefully,” said a senior State Department official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity.

    With internet and phone lines restricted by the authorities, opponents of the coup have sought to mobilise for the protest using fliers, SMS messages, graffiti, and neighbourhood rallies.

    Neighbourhood-based resistance committees, active since the uprising against deposed President Omar al-Bashir that began in December 2018, have been central to organising despite the arrests of key politicians.

    Bashir, who ran Sudan for nearly three decades, was deposed by the army following months of protests against his rule. 

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    Khartoum committee activist Hussam Ibnauf said the protest date had been well-advertised and he was confident of a big turnout.

“Everyone knows about October 30, and they are all on the streets.” “If they are able to recognize October 30, the rest will be easy,” he stated.

He stated that “there was no fear factor”.


    Burhan has said he removed the cabinet to avert civil war after civilian politicians stoked hostility to the armed forces.

    He says he is still committed to a democratic transition, including elections in July 2023.

    Hamdok, an economist, was initially held at Burhan’s residence when soldiers rounded up the government on Monday, but was allowed to return home under guard on Tuesday.

    The U.S. State Department official said he was, however, still under house arrest and unable to resume his work.

    The U.S. official said tens of billions of dollars of debt relief sought by Sudan would not happen as long as the army was attempting to direct Sudan unilaterally. Already, the United States and World Bank had stopped aid to Sudan. The country is currently in an economic crisis that has led to shortages of essential goods such as food and medicine. Nearly a third need urgent humanitarian assistance.

    Several mediation efforts have emerged but there has been no sign of progress towards a compromise.

    Western states are not looking to engage with the military or mediate any negotiation until detainees are released and the army shows commitment to power-sharing as set out in a transitional constitutional declaration, a Western diplomat said.

    Many Sudanese opponents of the coup oppose a compromise with an army of which they are deeply mistrustful following several coups since independence in 1956.

    Friction had been mounting between the civilian government and the army leading up to the latest takeover. The pursuit of justice in Darfur for the 2000s was a source of tension. In fact, the International Criminal Court asked Sudan to surrender Bashir.

    “All those who accept or participate in dialogue with the military do not have the street’s support,” the Sudanese Professionals Association said in a statement, demanding full handover of power to civilians.

    Magdi El Gizouli, a political analyst, said Burhan’s calculation is that he can suppress the opposition by force if needed, while counting on the backing of people who crave stability.

    While it was important the army avoid violence on Saturday, Burhan’s opponents must make realistic demands, he added.

Amnesty International urged the Sudanese authorities to stop their security forces from resorting to unneeded force.

    “Sudan’s military leaders … must make no mistake about it: the world is watching and will not tolerate further bloodshed,” Amnesty said in a statement.