‘Mothers and Fathers March’ stands firmly behind Sudanese youth resisting coup leaders

Elderly people across Sudan took to the streets in a show of support for the youth who are resisting the military junta. Meanwhile, the neighborhood Resistance Committees are set to announce a united political vision for the country

February 27, 2022 by Pavan Kulkarni
Protesters at the Mothers and Fathers March in Sudan. Photo: Sudan Post

On Saturday, February 26, thousands of elderly people in Sudan took part in the ‘Mothers and Fathers march’ to voice their support for the youth who, organized under the neighborhood Resistance Committees (RCs), continue resisting the military junta daily on the streets. The security forces attacked this demonstration, injuring at least 34 people, said the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors (CCSD).

At least 83 pro-democracy protesters have been killed by security forces, and more than 3,000 have been injured in the four months since the coup by army chief Abdel Fattah al Burhan on October 25, 2021.

Over 450 of the injured protesters remain hospitalized as of Sunday, February 27, according to data compiled by Hadreen Organization. 26 have lost limbs or other organs and seven are paralyzed.

Chanting “our children aren’t alone, we stand with them,” the elderly marched on El-Siteen (Sixty) street in capital Khartoum, waving flags and holding up pictures of killed protesters as martyrs.

The military junta attempts to portray “the protesters as “street kids” & describe them as drug addicts, immoral & anarchists. The lies end here,” tweeted Nada Ali, with the picture of a placard that read: “Let the world witness that the “street kids” have families who stand with them.”

Along with family members of killed protesters, several political leaders, including Neimat Malik and Mukhtar al-Khatib of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP), many of whose members are actively working in the RCs, also took part in this march.

Women’s rights activist and SCP member, Amira Osman, who was only recently released from prison, was also seen in the march. She had been locked up for two weeks incommunicado by security forces who abducted her from her home at gunpoint.

20 of the 34 people who were injured were hit by stun grenades and tear gas canisters fired directly at the bodies of the protesters. Five more injuries, including a skull fracture, were caused by “severe beatings with batons,” the CCSD statement added. Another person was “run over by a vehicle belonging to the regular forces.” Instances of security forces using vehicles as a weapon against the protesters are increasing and have been well documented in several video clips showing trucks used by security forces chasing fleeing protesters and deliberately mowing them down.

Participating in protests in such dangerous conditions along with the elderly on Saturday, were also many children, who are not spared by the security forces either. Amir Khalid, a child who was run over by a military vehicle during the 20th nation-wide ‘March of Millions’ protest on February 21, is in coma. At least 158 others were injured that day when mass-protests rocked 14 cities.

14-year-old Maya Hasan Ahmed, an eighth grade school girl who was arrested with other minors from Omdurman that day, was released only on February 25. Lawyers have argued it is a case of “enforced disappearance” because the security forces provided no information as to where she was detained. None of the police stations had registered her detention, nor have any charges been filed against her, Radio Dabanga reported.

Over 200 children are said to have been detained since the coup and subjected to “all forms of violence.”

At a press conference, the UN Expert on Human Rights in Sudan, Adama Dieng, who concluded his visit to the country on February 24, spoke of “frightening reports” from women who were released from prison.

Risking a similar fate, the “mothers of revolution,” as they’ve come to be called, marched on February 26 in other cities – including in the States of Gezira, River Nile and North Kordofan.

On Sunday, the Coordination of the Resistance Committees in Khartoum state will be unveiling the “Proposal of the Charter for the Establishment of the People’s Authority,” which has been prepared after months of deliberation. Last month, a proposal had been made by Resistance Committees in Madani.

This exercise is expected to finally lead to a common political vision uniting the more than 5,200 Resistance Committees, which have all declared that there will be “No negotiation, no compromise and no partnership with the military”.

Ruling out a return to the pre-coup arrangement where the military and civilian leaders jointly led the government, the RCs have unanimously declared that they will accept nothing short of full civilian rule, to which the military is subjugated, and under whose authority the generals responsible for the coup are to be tried.

While the unity among the forces of resistance has thus been consolidating over the months since the coup, divisions and fissures appear to be widening within the army. There have been reports about Burhan fearing that he himself might be replaced by another coup. Earlier this month, on February 14, Burhan dismissed hundreds of mid-ranking officers, fearing a mutiny.