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Anti-Coup Protesters in Sudan Press Their Demand for Return to Civilian Rule

The December 25 protests in Sudan were the 10th major demonstrations in the past two months, as coup opponents have remained defiant despite a continued crackdown from security forces.

December 26, 2021 / 07:01 PM IST
Sudanese civilians wave their national flags in Khartoum, Sudan, August 17, 2019. (Image: REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Sudanese civilians wave their national flags in Khartoum, Sudan, August 17, 2019. (Image: REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Thousands of protesters flooded the streets of several cities in Sudan on Saturday, activists and pro-democracy groups said, denouncing the October military coup that imperiled the nation’s fragile steps toward stability and its attempt at a democratic transition after decades of military rule.

The protests Saturday were the 10th major demonstrations in the past two months, as coup opponents have remained defiant despite a continued crackdown from security forces.

Anticipating Saturday’s protests, authorities cut mobile internet starting at 6 am local time, according to internet monitoring organization NetBlocks. They also obstructed major roads in the capital, Khartoum, and closed bridges linking it to the neighboring city of Omdurman across the Nile River.

There were no deaths reported as of Saturday evening, but the pro-democracy Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said authorities were preventing ambulances and medical aid personnel from assisting protesters.

Sudan has been gripped by widespread and nearly continuous protests denouncing the Oct. 25 military coup along with the Nov. 21 deal with the military that reinstated Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok to power.

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Hamdok returned to the prime minister’s office in late November after four weeks of house arrest, but only after he signed a new power-sharing agreement with the military leaders who had deposed him.

But if the country’s military, led by Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, thought simply bringing back Hamdok would calm the dissent, it appears to have miscalculated. The prime minister has been criticized by protesters and civilian members of his former Cabinet alike for signing the agreement, and has been accused of giving cover to continued military rule.

Saturday’s protests came just days after Hamdok had signaled to political figures that he intended to resign from his post, according to an official in his office.

Hamdok has expressed frustration that many political parties and the general public continue to reject the agreement he signed with the military. But he faces local and international pressure to stay on.

“He is under so much pressure to make things work,” said the official, who was not allowed to discuss the matter publicly and so spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But anything could come up next.”

(Author: Abdi Latif Dahir)/(c.2021 The New York Times Company)
New York Times
first published: Dec 26, 2021 07:01 pm
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