Security forces dispersed demonstrators in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, on Sunday (November 7), on the first day of a new campaign of civil disobedience against the army, in power since its October 25 coup.
Since the dissolution, that day, by General Abdel Fattah Al-Bourhane of all the country’s institutions and the arrest of almost all the civilians with whom he shared power, the street has come into resistance. After a mobilization started on the day of the putsch which ran out of steam last week, unions and other organizations again urged the Sudanese to civil disobedience on Sunday, the first day of the week in Sudan, and Monday.
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Hundreds of demonstrators marched in Atbara, in the north, shouting “No to military power”, while dozens of teachers converged on the education ministry in Khartoum for “a silent protest against the decisions of the General Burhane ”, explained Mohammed Al-Amine, professor of geography.
“The police came and fired tear gas canisters at us while we were only standing there with our ‘No to military rule’ signs”, he added. The teachers’ union denounced the violence and reported several arrests of demonstrators in its ranks, but did not deplore any injuries. According to the teachers’ union, 87 demonstrators were arrested “without a warrant” and a teacher had her leg broken in the dispersal.
A few hours later, a procession of a few hundred demonstrators also came under tear gas canister fire, according to witnesses, this time in the turbulent neighborhood of Al-Bourri, in the east of the capital.
Roads blocked and shops closed
Before this demonstration, young people blocked roads with bricks and cobblestones, while shops remained closed. “There is less movement in the streets, but the blockage is not total”, reported a witness in Omdourman, Khartoum’s twin city.
The Sudanese want to be heard while behind closed doors, far from the streets, negotiations continue between military, civilian leaders and local and international mediators to find a solution to the crisis.
So far, however, discussions have led neither to the formation of a government nor to the return of the one brutally removed by General Al-Bourhane, nor even to the adoption of a clear position on whether or not to resume. from the democratic transition launched to the fall of dictator Omar Al-Bashir in 2019.
For pro-democracy organizations at the forefront of “Revolution” against General Al-Bashir, the line is clear: “No dialogue, no negotiation, no partnership” with the army, they claim in press releases sent by SMS, the Internet having been blocked for fourteen days.
In 2019, senior officers and pro-democracy civilians decided to jointly manage the transition; today, many people believe that such a partnership is no longer possible.
The army wants a new government
The Prime Minister, Abdallah Hamdok, under house arrest, and his rare ministers at liberty continue to plead for the return to before October 25; but the army wants a new government more inclined to safeguard its political and economic interests, experts say.
Negotiators from the Arab League, South Sudan, the United Nations (UN) are increasing their meetings with the two camps, but their task is complicated: the UN representative in Sudan, Volker Perthes, is is outraged on Thursday after civilian politicians who came to meet him at his headquarters were arrested by the army on their doorstep.
On Sunday, an Arab League delegation met with General Al-Bourhane, who continues the purges. After having dismissed all the directors of public companies, he sacked, this Sunday, all the directors of public banks. Four ministers have been released by the military, but others are still being held and General Al-Burhane has hinted that they will be prosecuted.
The coup and crackdown – which killed fourteen protesters, doctors say – have already earned Sudan a string of foreign convictions, its suspension from the African Union and massive cuts in international aid.
Arab countries seem divided. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two countries close to the Sudanese military, on Wednesday called for the “Immediate restoration” civil government, but Egypt, a big influential neighbor, has still not positioned itself.
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In Sudan, protesters against coup dispersed with tear gas canisters in Khartoum