Another day of fire in Sudan. Protesters returned to the streets after Monday’s military coup. They sang and waved flags, blocked roads in the capital Khartoum and throughout the country. The soldiers opened fire on the crowd and, according to an initial unofficial toll, killed 10 people. “Civil government is the people’s choice,” protesters shouted as they erected barricades of burning tires and carried the Sudanese flag, a red-white-black tricolor, with a green triangle on the side, using pan-Arab colors. Many women were also present at the protests shouting “no to the military government”.
Then at a press conference on TV, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the mastermind of the coup, appeared. He said Monday’s putsch was justified to avoid “civil war” and that Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok is safe (“at my house”), will return to his home soon and “we feared for his own life”. He added that Sudan is still engaged in the transition to civilian government, and elections are scheduled for July 2023. But the coup came less than a month before Burhan’s expected handover of the council leadership he leads. the country to a civilian, a step that would have diminished the power of the military. During the speech he said that by the end of the week the judicial bodies and the legislative council will be formed. The latter will be made up of young people who are not members of any party. He also said that internet and cell phone networks will be restored in the next few hours. He then explained that “the affairs of the country will be managed by an independent technocratic government in which people from all walks of life will be represented.” Burhan seemed to want to reassure the public that the military will not hold power for long. Hamdok instead accused military leaders of acting in concert with Islamists, who supported a military government, and other politicians linked to Omar al-Bashir’s National Congress Party, dissolved in 2019.
The coup dictated global condemnation. The United Nations Security Council will meet soon to discuss the crisis. The United States with the United Kingdom, the EU, the UN and the African Union, of which Sudan is a member, have called for the release of the political leaders. Brussels has also threatened, through the mouth of the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, to suspend financial aid to Sudan if the military does not return the levers of power “immediately”. And the United States is also suspending “the delivery of 700 million dollars in emergency economic support funds to Sudan, which were supposed to support the country’s democratic transition”. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres explained instead that “geopolitical divisions” are preventing the Security Council from taking strong measures while countries around the world grapple with the pandemic and social and economic problems. And he then underlined how “military leaders feel they have total impunity”.
Russia also seems concerned. “The Sudanese people must resolve the situation in the country themselves as quickly as possible and without any loss of life,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov. The diplomats of France, Belgium and Switzerland have declared their missions “embassies of the Sudanese people and their revolution”.