Thousands have taken to the streets of Sudan’s capital of Khartoum as rival demonstrators gathered to support both military and civilian forces vying for power during a tense transition period for the nation.
Supporters of Sudan’s transitional government held a massive march on Thursday, as rival pro-military protesters staged their own rally outside the presidential palace in the capital.
Occupying factions of the Forces for Freedom and Change alliance (FFC), which led massive protests against Omar al-Bashir back in 2019, organized these demonstrations.
In the wake of al-Bashir’s ousting, a fragile power-sharing agreement was put in place that saw the creation of a Sovereign Council of military and civilian leaders created – and is tasked with overseeing the transition period expected to end with general elections in 2023. Also, a civilian-led cabinet led by Abdalla Hamdok as Prime Minister was established.
Tensions continued to mount in the wake of a failed coup attempt by al-Bashir’s supporters in September, which saw the FFC split into rival groups. One group now supports transition to civilian rule and backs Hamdok’s government, while the other wants the military to take power.
Pro-military demonstrators chanted on Saturday “Down with the hunger government”The Army was urged to assume control. They have accused the civilian government of failing to revive the nation’s economy and exacerbating bread shortages. They even organized a sit-in at the Presidential Palace.
#Sudan manifestation massive “pro-démocratie” à Khartoum en soutien au gouvernement civil Soudanais (depuis 2019), qui est sous pression de l’armée, même si ses résultats économiques ne sont pas à la hauteur des aspirations de la population pic.twitter.com/jpSln4GJy1
— Charli☀️???? (@CharliB97783485) October 21, 2021
A few kilometers away, people supporting civilian authorities could be seen holding signs and marching with banners. “Civilian is the people’s choice,”According to AFP. They also called on General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to be the Sovereign Council’s military head. “give up power”He warned the people that any attempted to take power will be considered a coup.
As part of democratic transition, control over the council will be transferred to civilians in the next few months.
Although accusations were flying from both sides, the military and civilian leaders appealed to their followers for peace and to abstain from violence.
Some reports also state that protesters rallied against all power sharing agreements, calling for civilian rule. According to reports, several government ministers were seen walking in different areas of the capital.
في لحظة تلقى الرد .. كل الشوارع سدشارع الستين – الخرطوم ٢١ – اكتوبر – ٢٠٢١م pic.twitter.com/ZFCFmKKFYr
— ذوالكــفـل ® (@HkZuk) October 21, 2021
Khartoum’s situation remained peaceful in spite of the large number of protestors. Large numbers were also present.
Rallies and marches were also held in other cities, including Khartoum’s twin city Omdurman, Port Sudan in the east, and Atbara to the north. Al Jazeera in Omdurman reported that one of these rallies ended with violence when police used tear gas against pro-civilian protesters en route to a parliament building.
According to Reuters, hundreds of thousands rallied in the country. The protests, which appear to be the largest ones since al-Bashir’s ousting, were held on the anniversary of Sudan’s first revolution in 1964. These protests were preceded in part by smaller rallies.
They maintain their commitment to political transition and the holding of elections in 2023. Hamdok remains popular in spite of economic difficulties. He added, though, that he is not a “neutral” or a “mediator” and firmly supports transition to civilian rule.
Massnews.com also available
Officials say Sudan has stopped a military coup attempt after soldiers tried to take over the army headquarters and radio station (VIDEO).
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