Sudan crisis: Pro-army demonstrators call for military rule in Khartoum as political tensions rise

Large protest comes just weeks after failed coup attempt linked to ousted president

Conrad Duncan
Monday 18 October 2021 02:16
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Related video: Sudan's government said that an attempted coup had been foiled in September

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum this weekend to call for the dissolution of the joint military-civilian government, urging the army to take control of the country.

Politician tensions have been rising in the African nation over the power-sharing arrangement between military and civilian groups, which was introduced following the toppling of its former president Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

Sudan’s fragile transition to democracy was threatened earlier this year by a failed coup attempt in September which was linked to supporters of the ousted former leader.

Pro-military demonstrators called for armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan’s joint military-civilian Sovereign Council, to seize control of the country on Saturday, arguing that the current’s prime minister Abdalla Hamdok had failed.

“We need a military government, the current government has failed to bring us justice and equality,” a 50-year-old protester told the AFP news agency.

The demonstrations this weekend were organised by political parties and rebel groups that were part of the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change, an umbrella group that led the uprising against the former president.

Protesters were reportedly bused in from the outskirts of Khartoum and elsewhere in the country to attend the gathering outside the capital’s presidential palace, according to the state-run SUNA news agency.

Their demands echo those of Mr Burhan, who said earlier this month that dissolving the government could resolve the political crisis.

Earlier this week, Mr Hamdok described the ongoing political tensions as “the worst and most dangerous crisis” threatening Sudan’s transition to democracy as he called for negotiations to settle the dispute.

Anti-government protesters, led by a tribal body representing six tribes from northeastern Sudan, in the country’s east have blocked a major Red Sea port for more than two weeks, disrupting fuel pipelines and major roads.

The blockade has prompted Mr Hamdok’s office to warn that the country is at risk of running out of essential goods, including medicines, fuel and wheat, with shortages of imported goods causing bread queues to appear in Khartoum in recent days.

Additional reporting by AP

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