Denouncing what they called a bid by the military to take over the country, thousands of Sudanese came on the streets of Khartoum on Thursday, September 30, to demand an exclusively civilian transitional government. The protesters were attacked by the security forces with tear gas, which led to scores being injured.
The protesters denounced last week’s coup attempt and raised slogans against General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the Sovereign Council, the main body in the transitional government. A large number of protesters came from remote areas of the country on trains. They also raised the issue of justice for protesters killed during the 2019 protests, as well as the complete purge of all remnants of the regime of ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir.
Separate calls for protests were made by various groups, including the the Sudanese Communist Party and the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition, which includes most of Sudan’s political and professional groups, formed during the 2019 popular uprisings against Bashir’s long-term military rule.
In a statement released on its Facebook page, the Sudanese Communist Party, which has been critical of the transitional government, proclaimed that the objective of the protests was to “overthrow of the ruling coalition’s authority with its military and civilian brutality and the establishment of an authority that reflects the revolutionary demands aimed at overthrow, dismantling and filtering brutal dictatorial power.”
On Thursday, the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA) said that, “the objective of these marches is to protect Sudan’s democratic transition and there is no way to achieve that without ending any partnership with the military council,” Al-Jazeera reported.
Apprehensions of military takeover
The FFC and the SPA, which steered the months-long protests in 2019, have expressed apprehension of a military takeover of the transitional government, particularly after last week’s failed coup by a faction of the military.
The military has been sharing power with the civilian administration in the transitional government, which was set up after the revolution that ended Bashir’s rule in April 2019. The transitional government is to remain in power until 2023, as per the agreement signed between the Sudanese military and the FFC in August 2019.
General Burhan heads Sudan’s military. Following the coup attempt last week, he accused the civilian members of the transitional government of indulging in personal gains and failing to deliver what was promised post the revolution. He also rubbished the idea that the military is trying to take exclusive control, and argued that failures of the civilian administrators are the reason that coup attempts are being made.
Prime minister Abdalla Hamdok, who heads the civilian part of the administration, has refuted the allegations and called for restructuring the military and bringing it under civilian control.
Similar protests were organized in different parts of the country since the coup attempt last week. Residents of Sudan’s eastern parts blocked the production and shipment of oil from the region, along with all transportation, in protest against the coup attempt.