Sudanese Renew Protests To Demand Civilian Rule    

Sudanese civilians have renewed protests to demand civilian rule in the country, which is currently ruled by the military after the ousting of President Bashir. Thousands have poured onto the streets in the capital as well as other major cities in an attempt to pressure the current government to hand over power to civilian rule as well as to demand justice for the civilian victims of the military crackdown. These demonstrations are the first round of protests since the 3 June protests which lead to the killing of over 100 people in a protest camp by militia forces.

According to Al Jazeera, deputy head of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and Rapid Support Forces General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo warned he would not tolerate any “vandalism” at the protests. “There are vandals, there are people who have an agenda, a hidden agenda, we don’t want problems.”

International forces have commented on the protests as well, with the EU stating, “Demonstrators’ right to peacefully protest and express their views on 30 June, or on any other date, remains key.”

Amnesty International has also commented on the renewed protests, with Secretary-General Kumi Naidoo emphasizing that the TMC “must not allow the country to slide back into yet more repression. The world is watching.” Secretary-General Naidoo is correct, the world is watching and some forces in the area are trying to help, including attempts of intervention by both the African Union as well as the Ethiopian government.

The Sudanese civilians use of relatively peaceful protest to make their demands heard is commendable, especially as they are targeted with military violence. The Sudanese people have continued to promote more peaceful demonstrations even as they are met with violence from the government that they are fighting to gain control of. On the other side, the continued actions of the TMC of inciting violence and injuring protesters even after international outrage is detrimental to the situation in Sudan. The more violence caused the less likely it is that the two groups find a way to work together in order to restore peace and a stable government.

According to Al Jazeera, the conflict between the government and Sudanese people began in December as civilians responded to economic crisis after the secession of South Sudan with protests that led to the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir. After the ousting of President Bashir, the Transitional Military Council took power, with the agreement that the government would be transitioned to civilian rule over three years. The agreement between the TMC and the group supporting the Sudanese people, Alliance for Freedom and Change, was called off shortly before the 3 June protests that resulted in the killing of over 100 protestors by TMC militia groups. There have been very few protests since then until now, with the renewed protests being dubbed the “millions march” and mass demonstrations being held all over the country.

Continued protests by the Sudanese people along with increasing intervention by outside forces like the African Union may encourage the TMC to recommit themselves to finding a solution to the issues at hand and restoring peace and stability in the country. In order to restore peace, it is vital that the TMC focuses less on squashing the protests through violence and focus instead on negotiating with the Sudanese people. If the TMC returns to negotiate with the people, the country will be able to take the first steps to end the violence and stabilize the government.

On 5 July Sudan’s TMC and Alliance for Freedom and Change concluded two days of peace talks and negotiated a power-sharing deal.

Bella Kocabiyik