CAIRO – Thousands of Sudanese protesters took to the streets in the country’s capital Khartoum on Tuesday, marking the first anniversary of a military coup that ended the nation’s brief transition to democracy.
Videos published on social media showed thousands of protesters marching with flags and drums, most of them forced into the Presidential Palace, where they are expected to face a secure presence big security.
Many newspapers and local journalists reported that security forces had closed the bridges leading into Khartoum earlier in the morning. According to netblocks, an online network monitoring company, internet services across the country have been blocked. There were no immediate reports of violence.
Since their takeover, the military has cracked down and cracked down on pro-democracy marches almost weekly, with 118 protesters reported dead.
Sudan’s highest-ranking general, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and his deputy, General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, are tasked with overseeing a democratic transition after Sudan’s autocratic ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown. dumped in a popular uprising in 2019.
But last year, Burhan dissolved the ruling Sovereign Council, arrested the transitional prime minister and unseated the civilian side of a power-sharing government that once existed. He later said that he had acted to prevent a civil war.
Human rights groups say hundreds of people have been detained since the military takeover, many without charges.
In recent weeks, internationally-backed talks between Sudan’s pro-democracy movement and the ruling military have made some progress.
According to the Force for Claims of Freedom and Change – an alliance of political parties and protest groups – the military has agreed on a draft constitutional text written by the country’s Bar Association. This would allow the appointment of a civilian prime minister who will lead the country through elections in 2024.
But Sudan’s more ardent pro-democracy groups, including the grassroots Resistance Committees, who led street protests against the coup, rejected any agreement with the military. Together with the Communist Party, they demanded that those responsible for the deadly crackdown on protests that year be tried in court.
Ammar Yahya, spokesman for a Khartoum branch of the Resistance Committee, said: ”I don’t trust the intentions of the army, the new negotiation is just a new division of power and property. ”.
The coup has put Sudan’s already inflation-ridden economy in deeper jeopardy. International aid has dried up while shortages of bread and fuel, partly due to the war in Ukraine, have become increasingly routine.
This year has also seen the resurgence of deadly tribal clashes in the neglected peripheries of the country. Fierce clashes between the Hausa and Berta people last week killed at least 230 people in the country’s southern Blue Nile province.
Many analysts see the rising violence in the South as the product of a power vacuum taken over by the military, with repression by the ruling generals centered on the center of power, Khartoum and the heart of the country. country, while the periphery fell into chaos.
Burhan and Dagalo had promised to retire from politics once civilian government was restored. But amid the chaos, both have also sought to increase their political influence.
Daglos’ paramilitary Rapid Support Force, involved in the killing of more than 100 sit-in protesters in June 2019 in Khartoum, has continued to expand across the country. Meanwhile, Burhan oversaw the reinstatement of dozens of civil servants fired by the previous government for their association with Bashir’s circle.