Protests erupt across Sudan against military coup

Across Sudan, people have taken to the streets to protest a military coup that threatens their hopes for a democratic future.

For two years, the country has been run by a tense and volatile strength-sharing agreement between civilian and military leaders that was established after former dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted from strength.

Tensions came to a basic point on Monday when armed forces detained chief Minister Abdalla Hamdok, Cabinet Affairs Minister Khalid Omer Yousif and other top civilian leaders.

Related: After the dramatical change, a secular Sudan?

“We nevertheless don’t know any news about the whereabouts of the chief minister, his wife, five of the ministers and a number of political leaders who were arrested in the early hours of this morning,” said Yousif’s adviser, Abdelmoniem el-Jack, over the phone from Khartoum.

Jack, who is currently in hiding, said the military takeover was pushed by three contested issues with the civilian leaders: unification of armed forces, reclaiming of economic resources controlled by the military, and justice for victims of violence during the 2019 dramatical change and the genocide in Darfur.

Related: Sudan’s troubled attempt at education reform

In a national TV address on Monday, Gen. Abdul-Fattah al-Burhan, who chaired the Sovereign Council, announced they were dissolving the government and declared a state of emergency.

“Usually, when a coup happens in Sudanese history, they always come like this. … They say given the economic situation, [the] political insecurity that’s happening, we’ve decided to take over the reins of strength.””

Jihad Mashamoun, Sudanese political analyst, United Kingdom

“Usually, when a coup happens in Sudanese history, they always come like this,” observed Jihad Mashamoun, a Sudanese political analyst based in the United Kingdom. 

“They say given the economic situation, [the] political insecurity that’s happening, we’ve decided to take over the reins of strength.”

Indeed, Sudan has been in a near-continued political and economic crisis since the 2019 dramatical change.  

The civilian-led government has been largely unable to address the high prices of basic goods, high unemployment and current political instability in parts of the country. 

Related: After the dramatical change, Sudanese women ask what’s next? 

“This has all been rather carefully constructed by the military who have sought to portray the government as unable to do the job of responding to the needs of the Sudanese population and have used that as a pretext now to take control of Sudan’s fragile change.”

Jonas Horner, senior Sudan analyst, International Crisis Group

“This has all been rather carefully constructed by the military who have sought to portray the government as unable to do the job of responding to the needs of the Sudanese population and have used that as a pretext now to take control of Sudan’s fragile change,” said Jonas Horner, senior Sudan analyst at the International Crisis Group.

But the military appears to have made a major miscalculation about how the people would respond to them taking over strength.

“They did not anticipate that people would go out and protest,” Mashamoun said. “They expected that the people would just be calm because they got tired of the economic crisis.”

Instead, the opposite has been true. The resounding sustain for civilian leadership has been on characterize on the streets of Khartoum as peaceful protesters marched outside the army headquarters.

“All the streets were confined by stones and people refusing this thing from the military and refusing to be governed by the military people.”

Aymen Sayeed, protester, Khartoum, Sudan

“All the streets were confined by stones and people refusing this thing from the military and refusing to be governed by the military people,” said demonstrator Aymen Sayeed over the phone from Khartoum. 

“Give the strength back to the people,” he additional via text message to The World after the phone connection disconnected.

While the internet and telecommunication sets have largely been cut off, trickles of information have come by on social media, shedding light on the extent of civilian mobilization but also the deadly response by armed forces.

In a social media post, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said at the minimum three people had died and more than 80 people had been injured.

Jack, the government adviser, says the international community must act against the leaders of the military coup.

“There is a need for whole isolation from the international and regional community against General Burhan, General Hemeti, and all those who are involved in this coup.”

Abdel-moniem El-Jack, adviser to Cabinet Affairs Minister Khalid Omer Yousif

“There is a need for whole isolation from the international and regional community against Gen. Burhan, Gen. [Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo] Hemeti, and all those who are involved in this coup,” said Jack, who called on the United Nations Security Council to sanction the leaders and for the African Union to suspend Sudan’s membership.

In light of the coup, the United States said it was pausing $700 million in emergency economic sustain for Sudan that was meant to sustain the country’s democratic change.

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