Thousands Protest in Sudan, Call for Dissolution of Transitional Government

Thousands of Sudanese took to the Capital of Khartoum on Saturday calling for the transitional civilian-military government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to be dissolved and replaced by a military administration.

The protesters demanded, among other things, that General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the armed forces and Sudan’s joint military-civilian Sovereign Council, initiate a coup and seize power. Some chanted “one army, one people” and “the army will bring us bread.”

The demonstration came as Sudan is in the grip of factional divisions that are endangering the country’s transition to democracy after two decades of autocratic rule by Omar al-Bashir ended in April 2019. It follows on the heels of a reported foiled coup attempt on September 21 that the government blamed on both military officers and civilians linked to Bashir’s regime.

Yahya Mohieddine, who came from his northern province to demonstrate in front of the presidential palace in the capital, where the transitional authorities are based, held up a sign demanding “the dismissal of the government” led since the fall of Omar al-Bashir in 2019 by the technocrat Abdallah Hamdok.

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“We need a government that includes all revolutionary forces,” he said while the sacred union of civilians and military of the “revolution” of 2019 has fizzled.

The protest was organized by political parties and military-aligned splinter factions of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), an umbrella group that was behind the protests that led to Bashir’s overthrow and have played a large role in the transition since then.

On Friday evening, nearly a month after a failed coup, Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok denounced “deep divisions” between civilians and military but also within these two blocks. He also declared that the transition was going through its “most dangerous” crisis, saying that the path to democracy was threatened.

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“We need a military government, the current cabinet has failed and only the army can bring us justice and equality,” said Abboud Ahmed, a self-described “poor” farmer outside the presidential palace.

Around him, pick-ups are dropping off new waves of protesters, some of whom are chanting “One army, one people”, while the security forces have blocked many of the capital’s main roads since the morning.

For their opponents, Saturday’s demonstrators are supporters of the former deposed regime. Supporters of a complete transfer of power to civilians have already called for “a demonstration of one million people” on Thursday.

The new authorities, made up of military and civilians, are supposed to lead the country towards elections, but they keep pushing back the deadline, currently to 2023.

Sudan’s prime minister on Friday announced a series of steps for his country’s transition to democracy less than a month after a coup attempt rocked its leadership.

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In a speech, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok called the coup attempt an ‘alarm bell’ that should awaken people to the roots of the country’s political and economic challenges.

Authorities announced the coup attempt by a group of soldiers on September 22, saying that it had failed.

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