Demands Full Civil Government, Thousands Demonstrate in Khartoum

Thousands of people took to the streets in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, demanding the formation of a fully civilian government. Relations between army generals and Sudanese pro-democracy groups over the country’s future have deteriorated in recent weeks.

Sudan has been ruled by an interim government consisting of a mix of civilians and military forces since 2019. The military ousted leader Omar Al Bashir, who had been in power since 1989, in April 2019 after four months of continued mass demonstrations against his rule. With Bashir ousted, the ruling generals agreed to share power with the civilians who represented the demonstration movement.

However, the condition of the country after the overthrow of Bashir’s government is in an uncertain situation. The demonstration on Thursday (21/10) itself occurred after previously groups supporting military leaders also staged demonstrations to show their support for the military.

“Let us mark this demonstration with a new wave of popular uprising that will pave the way for a fully civilian-led and democratic government!” said the statement by the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which called for massive nationwide demonstrations on Thursday.

The group had previously spearheaded an insurgency since December 2018, which culminated in the overthrow of Bashir.

Thousands of men and women marched in the capital Khartoum waving the Sudanese flag and chanting “We are free! We are revolutionaries! We will continue our journey!”

A group of Sudanese people supporting the military stage a demonstration outside the presidential palace in Khartoum on October 16, 2021. They demand the abolition of the transitional government.  (Photo: AP/Marwan Ali)

A group of Sudanese people supporting the military stage a demonstration outside the presidential palace in Khartoum on October 16, 2021. They demand the abolition of the transitional government. (Photo: AP/Marwan Ali)

Tensions between civilians and the generals in the transitional government have escalated since Sudan’s interim government said it was behind a coup attempt within the military last month.

Officials blamed those loyal to Bashir for the move. The announcement also raised concerns among civilians that the military could eventually hijack the country’s transition to democratic civilian rule.

Military leaders have signaled a change of direction in government. The head of the ruling Sovereign Council in Sudan, General Abdel Fattah Burhan, said dissolving the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok could resolve the ongoing political crisis.

Hamdok responded to this by delivering a public speech, in which he outlined a series of actions that he said would help speed up the handover of power to the elected government. [em/lt]

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