Protestors killed in Sudan democracy march

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Khartoum, its twin city of Omdurman, Wad Madani, and Atbara since 25th October to protest a military coup. Military fire has killed at least seven people and left 140 injured.

Since 2019, the political situation in Sudan had been that it was governed by a tense union between civilian groups and the military. Before this, there was a 30-year-long military dictatorship led by Omar al-Bashir who was ousted in 2019 during a coup which ended his brutal rule. 

To oversee the transition between powers, the Transitional Military Council was formed but a pro-democracy movement pushed for civilian rule. There was a standoff that ended in an agreement to form a sovereign council to govern for the next few years. The first 21 months were militarily led, followed by an 18-month civilian administrative rule over the council. The Sovereign Council was designed and set up to guide Sudan to democracy.

On the 22nd October, however, the military effectively took over this co-rule, getting rid of the Sovereign Council and detaining Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok temporarily along with his wife and other government officials. The prime minister and his wife were returned to their residence the following day, but it’s not known whether the others were, or if they are able to move freely.

Sudan’s top general, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan is behind the military coup. He was chief of the sovereign council (the military-civilian co-ruling body), serving as head of state for the last two years. The general was supposed to give control of the council to a civilian leader in the next couple of weeks, instead, he dissolved the council and declared a state of emergency.

Tens of thousands of well-coordinated protesters took to the streets of the capital of Sudan, Khartoum, opposing the coup, calling for a restoration of civilian rule. The scale of these protests, even in the face of full internet and mobile phone network shutdowns is the most serious challenge to the military’s complete seizure of power. Protestors outside the army headquarters were gunned down by soldiers. A doctors’ group said just in this instance at least three had been killed and more than 80 wounded. 

Tear gas has also been fired at several anti-coup rallies. Tahani Abbas, a Sudanese rights activist, said in the protests “the military forces are bloody and unjust, and we are anticipating what is about to happen on the streets. But we are no longer afraid.” Central bank employees also announced a strike to reject the coup, the ministry said.

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Lauren Barrett

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November 2021
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