Civil resistance to the coup in Sudan
Protests and unrest have erupted on the streets of Khartoum after the Sudanese military announced the dissolution of the transitional government and detained Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Monday.
Thousands of pro-democracy supporters protested against the military's actions in the capital Khartoum on 25 October 2021. There had already been an attempted coup in Sudan in September. Since then, political tension in the country has risen dramatically.
The commander general of the Sudanese armed forces justified the coup by saying that there had been a threat to peace and security in Sudan. Following the overthrow of Omar El-Bashir two years ago, a power-sharing agreement was reached. The intention was that power would be transferred to a civilian elected government with elections taking place in July 2023. International observers fear that this will now no longer happen.
The military arrested acting Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok (pictured here) along with several other ministers on Monday. Sudan's top general, Abdel Fattah Burhan, said that Hamdok was being held in his own home and was unharmed. Mobile phone and landline services remained largely shut down on Tuesday.
All over Sudan, people are taking to the streets, as here in Omdurman. There is increasing resistance to the military in other areas too: according to media reports, employees of the central bank have gone on strike. The Sudanese doctors' union wrote on Facebook that doctors throughout the country should refuse to work in military hospitals, except in emergencies.
Not all Sudanese people are behind the democratic transition process. According to Theodore Murphy, director of Africa programs at the European Council on Foreign Relations, parts of the armed rebel groups would rather see a military government in power than a civilian one: "They see that a democratic future is unlikely to work out in their favour," he said.
Violence broke out during the protests on Monday: car tyres were burned, roads were blocked in Khartoum, and seven people were killed in clashes between demonstrators and security forces according to the Ministry of Health. Protests continued on Tuesday, with tanks blocking bridges and major roads in the capital.
In May, Sudan received billions of dollars in debt relief in order to support its transition to democracy. But now, after the coup, a period of instability lies ahead. Western countries have threatened to stop aid payments if the imprisoned politicians are not released and civilian forces are not allowed to participate in the government.