Sudan. Across the country, people are challenging the military junta

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The quarteron of generals who came to power in Sudan on Monday thought perhaps that by cutting the Internet and restricting the use of telephone lines they would prevent any protest: the soldiers are at their expense. At the call of many associations, unions and political organizations (including the Sudanese Communist Party whose militants are very present), banned, the Sudanese entered into ” civil disobedience “, perched on barricades and facing real rubber bullets and tear gas canisters from the security forces. Khartoum has been like a dead city since the start of the week. Not a day has gone by without gatherings being organized there as well as in its twin city, Omdurman, and the major cities of the country. Opponents of the coup have sought to mobilize for the demonstration on Saturday by putting up posters, writing graffiti on the walls or, when possible, sending text messages.

Effective resistance committees

The rallies in the neighborhoods were particularly effective, organized by the resistance committees set up since the uprising against the regime of Omar al-Bashir, that is to say since December 2018, and remained active. Protest groups blocked roads overnight with stones, bricks, tree branches and plastic pipes in an attempt to prevent any attempts by security forces to enter.

This Saturday morning, the demonstrators arrived in clusters, the ranks growing hour by hour, especially in the capital. The participants carried photos of General al-Burhan, the head of the junta, his deputy, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, and al-Bashir covered in red. “Close a street, close a bridge, Burhan we are coming straight to you”, they chanted. Amid fumes from burnt tires in eastern Khartoum, protesters’ signs were clear. “No going back possible”, could we read. So much information made public, in particular via social networks and the use of VPNs, able to overcome blockages on the Internet.

Washington prefers to negotiate behind the scenes

The United States had urged the Sudanese army on Friday not to violently crack down on planned protests. But since the start of the week, at least twelve people have been killed. This Saturday afternoon, an association of doctors reported three new deaths. Everything happens, however, as if Washington, which has decided to observe a ” pause “ in its financial aid to Sudan, preferring to negotiate secretly through various intermediaries, avoided directly confronting the strong man of the country, General al-Burhan. The latter first said he had ousted the government to avoid civil war after politicians stirred up hostility towards the armed forces. He was quick to say that he was still engaged in a democratic transition, including the holding of elections in July 2023 and respecting international commitments including the normalization of relations with Israel. Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok was arrested on the first day of the coup but brought home the next day. Since then, negotiations have been underway. This probably explains the minimum sentences emanating from most countries and the weak declaration of the UN Security Council.

For the Russian Foreign Ministry, the current situation is the result of a serious economic crisis and a loss of confidence in the transitional government. Western countries want to prevent Sudan (which borders the Red Sea and where the Nile flows) from escaping them. On Wednesday, Abdullah Hamdok met the French, German, Norwegian, English, American and European Union (EU) ambassadors, as well as the special envoy of the UN secretary general, Volker Perves. As for the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, he spoke by phone with the Prime Minister who could very well return to his post.

A purge within the direction of the transition?

On Thursday, al-Burhan said he wanted Abdullah Hamdok to form a new independent government, adding that he would only ask him to choose a minister from among Sudan’s 18 states. Which suggests that the ultimate goal of the coup perpetrated on Monday may well be a purge within the leadership of the transition. What trend would pay the price? This is what should appear in the next few days. Several sources in Khartoum claimed that Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the head of the Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and his brother Abdelrahim, second commander of the RSF, met with Hamdok on Thursday. As for the Sovereign Council, organ of the transition, it could include a representative for each province. According to some of his relatives, the prime minister ousted by the Sudanese army would be ready to negotiate the formation of a new government on condition that the army cancels its coup and releases detainees “

“What happened in Sudan is not a betrayal or a coup, but a turnaround on the road to revolution. General Burhan is the most concerned about the democratic transition ”, swears, hand on heart Burhan’s media adviser Brigadier Altahir Abuhaja. And those who think that the generals want to avoid any investigation into the massacres perpetrated during the days that led to the fall of al-Bashir and keep their economic prerogatives like their Egyptian counterparts, are certainly only bad thinkers.

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