Sudan’s Military Dissolves Transitional Government

On Monday, October 25, Sudan’s military seized power, arrested the prime minister, and dissolved the transitional government. As a result, Sudan’s main opposition coalition, the Forces of Freedom and Change, has called for civil disobedience and protests across the nation. Following the call to action, thousands of citizens have flooded the streets to oppose the coup and demand that the civilian government be restored.

General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the Sudanese military, announced that he was dissolving both the government and the Sovereign Council, thereby declaring a state of emergency. According to the Associated Press, “tensions have been rising for weeks over the course and the pace of the transitions to democracy in Sudan.” It was these political factors that spurred the military to intervene. Their actions have been condemned by the United Nations (UN), the United States, and the European Union (EU). Deputy Whitehouse spokesperson, Karin Jean-Pierre stated that “the actions today are in stark opposition to the will of the Sudanese people and their aspirations for peace, liberty, and justice.” As such, the nationwide protests in Sudan have continued.

According to a Reuters witness, security forces in Khartoum have used “tear gas and gunfire to try to disperse a huge crowd.” Further, the Sudan Doctors’ Committee has reported that three people have been shot dead by security forces, and upwards of 80 others have been injured. Social media videos have shown crowds crossing bridges to the capital and chanting “The people are stronger, stronger!” and “Retreat is not an option!” In an interview with BBC, a member of the Khartoum Resistance Committee, Shaheen al Shaheef, stated that “people here are very peaceful,” and the protests would “continue to be peaceful even when faced with guns.”

Sudan has suffered from several other coups since it gained its independence in 1956, including the one which put autocrat Omar al-Bashir in power. In 2019, popular protests caused by the country’s ongoing economic crisis overthrew al-Bashir, ending his three-decade rule over the nation. Following the ousting of al-Bashir, the civilian groups who backed the uprising came to a power-sharing agreement with the military during a transitional period that would lead the country toward democracy. Tensions between the civilian government and the military, however, had been rising for quite some time. According to the Associated Press, the military became “emboldened in its dispute with civilian leaders,” which led to the arrests of the prime minister and other officials, eventually culminating in the dissolution of the Sovereign Council.

The international community has condemned the actions taken by the Sudanese military. Both the United States and the World Bank have frozen all humanitarian assistance to Sudan, including $700 million in emergency aid that had been allocated to help the transition to democracy. The spokesperson for the State Department, Ned Price, said that this was a “pause” in aid until the civilian-led government was restored. The international community should continue to support the protestors in Sudan, condemn the military’s actions, and facilitate dialogue between the two parties so a peaceful restoration of power can occur.