Thousands take to the streets across the country to protest Abdullah Hamdok’s deal with the generals
Witnesses said thousands of protesters marched in Sudan on Thursday to protest a re-appointment deal following the ouster of Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok in a military coup last month.
In Khartoum, protesters shouted, “People want to overthrow the regime,” while in the capital, Omdurman, others shouted, “Power to the people, civil government to the people.”
Witnesses said security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters in Khartoum, Omdurman and the central province of North Kordofan and North Darfur.
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan seized power on October 25 and arrested Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, but he was reappointed by an agreement signed on Sunday after international criticism and public outcry.
Protester Soheir Hamad told Agence France-Presse in southern Khartoum: “I first came out to demand a retaliation for those killed after the coup. Now I oppose the God-Hamdok agreement.”
The agreement “blocks the path to full civilian rule. We do not want the military to play a role in politics,” he said.
Witnesses said protests broke out in other provinces, including Wad Madani, Kassala and western Darfur.
Thursday’s protests, in the eyes of Sudan’s powerful pro-democracy groups, show strong opposition to Sunday’s agreement to bring back Hamdok, a popular hero who turned into a traitor to the 2018-19 autocratic revolution. Governor Omar Al Bashir.
Mr Hamdok said he had agreed to return to the post of prime minister to restore the country’s democratic transition, which had fallen out of favor in a coup, and to stop the bloodshed of Sudan’s youth. At least 41 protesters have been killed and hundreds injured since the October 25 coup.
He also said he wanted to protect the economic gains made as a result of reforms since taking office in 2019. On Wednesday, he said the deal with the military had prevented Sudan from plotting to spread to other countries in the region. These include Yemen and Syria.
However, his recapture after nearly a month of house arrest raises questions about the extent of his power and whether he belongs to an army led by top general and coup leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
It is important to note that Mr. Hamdok, who played a key role in the uprising against Al Bashir, lost the support of the Freedom and Change Force (FFC), a weak coalition for democracy, before becoming the prime minister’s power base and political force. sponsor.
He also lost the support of another coalition of Sudanese professional associations formed during the uprising, as well as neighboring protest committees that staged protests during the uprising and in the weeks following the October 25 coup.
“What we have now is not a recipe for stability or the success of a democratic transition,” said Michael Hanna, director of the New York-based US program at the International Crisis Group.
“There is a lot of concern about the course of events, such as the loss of civil support for the government, the refusal to negotiate on the streets, and Hamdok’s beliefs. Hamdok, who looked like a military-controlled canopy, was burned by the military.”
Sunday’s agreement called for the release of all political prisoners arrested since the coup, but did not say anything about the state of emergency declared by General Al-Burhan on October 25. Some parts of the distribution of power are also not mentioned. In 2019, an agreement between the army and the IAEA was annulled by General Al Burhan. These sections describe the FFC as a military ally of the transitional government that will run until the election.
Mr Hamdok is now trying to dispel the assumption that he is leading the army, not himself. Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Thursday, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. He said he had instructed authorities to release political prisoners and that Mr Hamdok had ordered the dismissal and recruitment of General Al-Burhan’s government agencies during his four-week house arrest.
Mr Hamdock also said he was free to appoint an independent technocrat government. On Wednesday, he told the Sudanese Council of Journalists that all detainees would be released within a day or two, but the FFC later released a list of about 100 people who said they were being held.
However, his efforts are unlikely to have much effect on the pro-democracy groups that have given him the support he needs to push through drastic economic reforms.
“The God-Hamdok agreement recognizes the military as the guardian of the political process; This is a serious setback, “said the union.
“Now the military can decide that the political process is not going well whenever it wants and increase it again. Now our immediate goal is to stop the military sponsoring the political process through peaceful demonstrations.”
However, the campaign against Mr Hamdok is short-lived and experts say the international community, along with the opposition on the streets of Sudan, will have four weeks to withdraw the military until the prime minister is finally reappointed.
The United States has already said it needs to do more to get Sudan’s democratic transition back on track, and is delaying the resumption of multimillion-dollar aid that was suspended in response to the coup.
Sudanese political analyst Moussa Gouda said, “If the streets boil like they do now, the military’s changes will be destroyed one by one.” “The international community will force the military to restore order just before the coup.”
As for Mr. Hamdok, he will be able to gain the status of a famous hero over time, said Rashed Mohammed Ali, a professor of political science at Bahri University in Khartoum.
He cited Mr Hamdok’s legitimacy as the choice of the political force behind the 2018-19 uprising and his ability to negotiate the international reconstruction of Sudan after thirty years in Paris.
During his two years in office, he negotiated a waiver of Sudan’s sanctions, the resumption of much-needed foreign aid, and the forgiveness of about $ 50 billion in foreign debt.
Mr Ham said: “Hamdok, no matter how harshly criticized, remains a symbol of revolution.”