Sudan’s protesters: Now we are driven by anger.

Activists are calling for the return of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok who is now under house arrestActivists are calling for the return of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok who is now under house arrest

Sudanese protesters are even more determined after the violent clampdown of the past days. Meanwhile, key regional players are following their own agendas.

The messages came in without prior warning. On Thursday evening, millions of texts, photos and videos about the  protests and the violent clampdown finally reached cell phones in Sudan.

Almost two dozen  protesters were killed by the military junta this week.

Following the coup on October 25, when General Abdel-Fattah Burhan dissolved the Sudanese government and declared a state of emergency, he had shut off mobile networks, internet and phones except for a few landlines in Khartoum, leaving the country of 44 million without digital communications for more than three weeks.

While this cutting of communication channels came as some surprise, the escalate itself didn’t come out of the blue for those striving for democracy in Sudan.

Tensions between the civilian side of the government and the military side of the government had been brewing and building up since September,” Aziz said.

And when the coup eventually happened, “people took to the street immediately,” she said.

However, to organize the protests, activists were left only with offline methods.

We’ve had a structure of resistance committees in place, with people who are mobilizing and organizing within their neighborhoods. A higher coordination committee is in communication with other resistance committees in different districts, and since we couldn’t call, we simply went out and walked or drove over,” Aziz said.

Other activists put notes on cars, placed folded pieces of paper with information in people’s hands and organized so-called advertising marches. “Some of us walked through the streets and chanted that there is a big march tomorrow,” Aziz said.

Protests have also spread to other Sudanese cities beside Khartoum, with protesters all over the country calling, “No to military rule” or “The people choose civilian rule.”

However, the protests have been met with violence by the military junta, and the situation has  escalated this week.

Condemnation of the violence and calls for dialogue have come from Germany, the EU and the US, among others.  However, some of Sudan’s regional neighbours seem to be following their own agendas.

Since the transition brought about by the revolution in 2018 and 2019, Sudan’s political map is a  new reality and neighboring countries such as Egypt and the Emirates, as well as Saudi Arabia, have different relationships with different parts of that government which impact their position.

Particularly Egypt has had long-standing ties with Sudan’s armed forces. “They see some similarities with their own experience during their own travel through a kind of popular revolution and then establishing stability,” Murphy said.

However, instead of openly supporting Burhan, Egypt has remained silent. “We’ve seen an absence of Egypt’s voice in public statements,” Murphy observed.

The two other regional key allies of Sudan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, issued a  statement on November 3 through their diplomatic formation, called the “Quad.”

Together with the US and the UK, they highlighted the need to restore the civilian component of the civilian military transitional government as well as to release the then-detained  Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok,  his wife and other senior officials.

 

 

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