The Sudanese military seized power from an interim government and at least three people were killed and 80 injured when protests against the street occupation began.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman, following the early arrest of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and other senior officials by security forces.
The leader of the takeover, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, has dissolved the Military-Civil Sovereignty Council, which was set up two years ago to lead the country to democracy after ousting longtime leader Omar al-Bashir in a popular coup.
Al-Burhan, who also heads the governing council for power-sharing, has declared a state of emergency across the country, saying the armed forces must ensure security but promised to hold elections in July 2023 and hand over to an elected civilian government. Then
“The situation the country is going through now is a real threat and danger to the dreams of the youth and the hopes of the nation,” he said.
Hamdock, an economist and former senior UN official who served as technocratic prime minister in 2019, was removed to an undisclosed location after refusing to make a statement in support of the coup, the information ministry said.
Thousands of Sudanese who opposed the occupation took to the streets and faced gunfire near the military headquarters in Khartoum. In Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman, protesters barricaded the streets and chanted slogans in support of civilian rule.
The Forces of Freedom and Change, Sudan’s main opposition coalition, called for civil disobedience and protests across the country and demanded that the Interim Military Council hand over power to the civilian government.
Sudanese central bank workers say they went on strike immediately to reject a military coup, the Sudanese information ministry wrote on their Facebook page.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Hala al-Qarib, a Sudanese women’s rights activist in the Horn of Africa, said Sudan was going through “the worst moments in its history” because it was “at a crossroads”.
He called on the international community to put pressure on the military to respect the constitution and the agreement with the civilian council.
Al-Qarib said the military had violated its agreement with the civilian government by detaining the prime minister and several other ministers. “The people of Sudan do not know if they are safe.”
The country has been on the brink since last month when accusations of military and civilian figures in the interim cabinet began as a result of a failed coup plot to blame al-Bashir supporters.
In recent weeks, a coalition of rebel groups and political parties has aligned itself with the military regime and called for the dissolution of the civilian government, while cabinet ministers took part in protests against the possibility of military rule.
The coup took place a few weeks before the military was to hand over the leadership of the governing council to civilians.
Washington tried to avoid the collapse of the power-sharing deal by sending a special envoy, Jeffrey Feltman.
On Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price called for the immediate restoration of a civilian government. “The civilian-led interim government should be restored immediately and represent the will of the people,” he told reporters.
“In light of this development, the United States is suspending aid,” he said, referring to economic aid. The United States has allocated $ 700 million to support the country’s democratic transition.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the immediate release of the Sudanese prime minister and other officials.
“I condemn the ongoing military coup in Sudan. Prime Minister Hamdok and other officials must be released immediately. There must be full respect for the constitutional charter to secure a hard-won political passage. The United Nations will continue to stand by the people of Sudan, “Guterres wrote on Twitter.
I condemn the ongoing military coup in Sudan. Prime Minister Hamdok and other officials must be released immediately. There must be full respect for the constitutional charter to secure a hard-won political passage. The UN will stand by the people of Sudan.
– Antonio Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 25, 2021
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement that violence and bloodshed in Sudan should be avoided at all costs.
“The actions of the military are a betrayal of the legitimate demands of the Sudanese people for revolution, transition and peace, justice and economic development,” he said. “We urge the security forces to immediately release those who have been illegally detained.”
The United Kingdom has said the military coup in Sudan is an “unacceptable betrayal of the Sudanese people” and called on security forces to release Hamdok.
The head of the African Union Commission, Musa Faki Mahamat, has expressed “deep frustration” over the volatile political situation in Sudan.
In a statement posted on the commission’s Twitter account, Mahamat said he was concerned about incidents leading to the arrest of Hamdok and other civilian officials.
The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Abul Geet, called on all parties to “fully comply” with the constitutional declaration signed in August 2019, aimed at paving the way for the passage of civilian rule and democratic elections.
For most of post-colonial history, Sudan has been ruled by military leaders who seized power in coups. It became a paradox to the West and was blacklisted by US terrorism under al-Bashir, who hosted Osama bin Laden in the 1990s and was wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes.