Coup d’état in Sudan: call for a “march of millions” to challenge the military takeover

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Coup d’état in Sudan: call for a “march of millions” to challenge the military takeover


Sudan’s six-day-old military junta faces its most serious challenge with pro-democracy groups, civilian politicians and unions trying to rally for planned mass protests against Monday’s coup .

As security forces set up checkpoints and block bridges to the twin city of Omdurman overnight in an attempt to prevent protests, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that security forces Sudanese women should respect human rights, adding that any violence against peaceful protesters was “unacceptable”.

The United States continues to support “the Sudanese people in their non-violent struggle for democracy,” he said in a tweet.

The planned protests came as General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the Sudanese general leading the coup, announced that he would appoint a technocratic prime minister to rule alongside the generals. The extent of the opposition’s “millions march” will be seen as a key indicator of the military’s grip.

Burhan insisted that the military takeover “was not a coup” but was intended only to “rectify the course of the Sudanese transition”.

However, while many have said they continue to recognize ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s office as the legitimate government, and the United States, the World Bank and others have cut off crucial foreign aid to the country economically. beaten, the army struggled to eradicate the protests. .

Witnesses in the Sudanese capital described the deployment of security forces overnight and the blocking of bridges, as well as the removal of internet and mobile phone services, which had been largely cut off since the coup. Vigils and demonstrations in favor of democracy were also planned in a number of foreign capitals.

On the eve of Saturday’s rallies, a US official said between 20 and 30 people had died, adding that the protests would be a “real test” of the Sudanese army’s intentions.

Echoing Blinken’s statement, British Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Robert Fairweather urged Sudanese security forces to “respect the freedom and right of expression” of protesters.

“Peaceful protest is a fundamental democratic right. The security services and their leaders will bear responsibility for any violence against protesters, ”he tweeted.

Heavily armed security forces demolished barricades of tires and stones blocking roads, and conducted random searches of people and cars. As authorities restricted internet and telephone signals, protesters on Saturday distributed leaflets calling for a “March of Millions” under the slogan “Go!” “.

Security forces shot protesters Thursday night in Bahri, across the Nile from the capital, Khartoum, with live and rubber bullets, witnesses said. A committee of doctors said one person was killed while two others were injured and in critical condition.

Supporters of the Umma Party, Sudan’s largest political party, in Omdurman. Photography: Ebrahim Hamid / AFP / Getty

“Dealing with peaceful protesters with gunfire is something that should not be tolerated,” said Haitham Mohamed, a protester in Khartoum. “It won’t make us back down; it only strengthens our resolve.

Recent pro-democracy protests, including in the immediate approach of the coup, have far outnumbered pro-military rallies, which the generals are accused of supporting as part of their preparations to seize power .

In an interview with Russian state-run Sputnik news agency published on Friday, Burhan said the new prime minister would form a cabinet that would share the leadership of Sudan with the armed forces. “We have a patriotic duty to lead the people and help them during the transition period until the elections are held,” Burhan said in the interview.

However, on Thursday evening, Burhan left open the possibility of Hamdok – who is under house arrest – to return as prime minister, saying the military was negotiating with him to form the new government.

In a speech to groups that helped topple dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019, he said consultations were underway to select the prime minister. “Until that night, we would send him people and tell him [Hamdok] … Complete the journey with us. Until this meeting with you, we were sending people to negotiate with him and we still have hope, ”Burhan said on Al Jazeera TV.

“We told him we’ve cleaned up the stage for you… he’s free to form the government, we won’t interfere in forming the government, whoever he brings, we won’t interfere at all. “

Hamdok, an economist and former senior UN official, was first detained at Burhan’s residence when soldiers arrested the government on Monday. He was allowed to return home under guard on Tuesday.

The generals have yet to produce a slate of candidates for prime minister, Burhan said. The decision to appoint such a prime minister follows previous calls from the generals for a non-partisan technocratic cabinet.

The military takeover came after weeks of growing tensions between military and civilian leaders during and at the pace of Sudan’s transition to democracy.



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