Home World Sudan: in Khartoum, hundreds of demonstrators demand a “government of soldiers”

Sudan: in Khartoum, hundreds of demonstrators demand a “government of soldiers”

It has become a ritual of protest in Sudan : the sit-in. The first of its kind in Khartoum, in April 2019, brought down dictator Omar al-Bashir. This sit-in then turned into “city of contestation”, installed just in front of the military command. For days and nights, the people debated the future of the country. The question at the time was to establish democracy in Sudan. In September 2020, other sit-ins appeared across the country, in the West Kordofan region, but also in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum, located on the other side of the Nile. Each time, the demonstrators demanded to accelerate the democratic change of the country, in particular by dismissing corrupt managers and employees in the public services. Since October 16, 2021, several hundred have set up tents in front of the presidential palace to demand the departure of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and the establishment of a “military government”.

El-Bashir had placed his associates in the cogs of the state in lucrative places, a system called “empowerment” which, according to his detractors, was above all a method to use in the coffers of administrations without danger. And now a new sit-in has appeared in Khartoum, in front of the presidential palace, where the Sovereignty Council sits, at work since the fall of Bashir. In fact, the country is a pressure cooker in which the pressure is constantly rising. And the protest is also social. Thus, for a month, demonstrators have blocked Port Sudan, where the entire economy of the country passes. According to AFP, “The demonstrators in Port-Sudan consider themselves neglected despite the natural resources of their region”.

Indeed, despite gold and agricultural resources, the economy is down. Inflation is reaching 300% and two years after the establishment of a transition regime, people see nothing coming and are getting impatient. On September 21, an attempted coup was foiled. It was for the mutineers – “officers of the armed forces and civilians from the old regime”, according to the authorities to take control of the national television buildings.

Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok heads a civilian government headed by a Sovereignty Council, made up of soldiers and civilians, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FLC). The team is supposed to lead the country towards free elections. But the more time passes, the more dissension arises. Military against political parties, but also military and political among themselves.

Since October 17, 2021, demonstrators have been camping in front of the presidential palace in Khartoum, seat of the transitional government.  Nothing seems to be missing to last a long time.  (ASHRAF SHAZLY / AFP)

The discontented there are several hundred therefore set up on October 16, 2021 the tents in front of the presidential palace, demanding the departure of Abdallah Hamdok and the constitution of a “military government”. FLC civilians speak of a “episode in the scenario of a coup d’etat”, an action led by “supporters of the old regime whose interests have been affected by the revolution”.

The FLC, in turn, calls for the mobilization of its supporters for a monster demonstration “a million people”, in order to “show the world the position of the Sudanese people”, in the words of Jaafar Hassan, spokesperson for the FLC. By calling on supporters to take to the streets, each side is playing a dangerous game. The slightest slip could plunge the country into civil war.

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