Sudan’s military coup continues to leave the country in a state of limbo, with no clear path out of its crippling political, economic crises.
Sudanese pro-democracy protestors pledged national civil disobedience on Tuesday to oppose a military coup against their transitional government, intensifying a high-stakes stalemate that has left the country with no obvious route out of a crippling economic and political crisis.
A day after the military imprisoned the prime minister and other civilian authorities and imposed a state of emergency, most of the capital Khartoum and other major cities remained closed, with demonstrators forming barricades and most supermarkets, banks, government offices, and schools shuttered.
Although video of skirmishes between police officers and protestors was being posted on social media in the evening, when internet connectivity was partly restored, the US Embassy in Khartoum stated Tuesday afternoon it had no information of additional violence. It was impossible to tell if the photographs were old or fresh right away.
According to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors, one of the organisations that backed the public movement that preceded the 2019 removal of longtime tyrant Omar al-Bashir, at least four protestors died on Monday, while scores more were wounded.
On Tuesday, a demonstrator received medical care at a hospital in East Khartoum.
Associated Press photo
Hospitals claimed they would only accept emergency patients, while labor groups and government workers warned they would go on strike unless the military relented. On Saturday, mass marches were planned to demand the quick transfer of power to civilian authorities.
“I’ll remain on the streets until the military relinquishes control,” said Nasereldin Ahmed, a 39-year-old store owner who joined hundreds of other demonstrators on one of Khartoum’s major thoroughfares.
Despite his disappointment with the transitional government’s inability to restore Sudan’s economy, Mr. Ahmed said that he did not want his nation to revert to military control. He said, “The military is not the defender of democracy.”
On Monday, pro-democracy protestors in Khartoum, Sudan, ignited fires in the streets to oppose a military takeover of the country’s transitional government. Getty Images/Rasd Sudan Network/ESN/AFP/Rasd Sudan Network/ESN/AFP/Rasd Sudan Network/ESN
Sudan’s most senior military officer, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, attempted to explain the collapse of the transitional government during a press conference Tuesday afternoon, claiming the military had to act to save the nation from devolving into civil conflict. He said that Prime Minister Abdulla Hamdok was being held in the general’s home for his protection, and that civilian leaders who had committed no crimes would be freed.
On its verified Facebook page, which was still controlled by supporters of Mr. Hamdok, the Sudanese communications ministry said that the prime minister remained the sole leader recognized by the Sudanese people. “The only other option is to go to the streets,” the statement read.
During a news conference in Khartoum on Tuesday, Sudan’s military chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, supported the takeover.
Associated Press photo by Marwan Ali
Sudan is left without a clear path toward resolving a spiraling economic crisis that has repeatedly triggered political instability in recent years, owing to the ongoing standoff between the military and civilians, as well as widespread condemnation of the coup by major donors and international organizations.
The enormous demonstrations that led to Mr. Bashir’s ouster after three decades in office were sparked by anger about steep hikes in food prices and a lack of opportunity for young Sudanese. Thousands of Sudanese took to the streets this week following months of near-400 percent consumer price inflation and shortages of food, petrol, basic medications, and other necessities.
Now, the transitional government’s plan for resolving the country’s economic problems, which includes hundreds of millions of dollars in aid from Western countries such as the United States, a $2.5 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund, and a $50 billion debt-relief deal, is also in jeopardy.
The US has halted $700 million in help to Sudan’s transition, however humanitarian aid will continue, according to the US Agency for International Development. Germany said on Tuesday that it will halt all development financing to Sudan until further notice.
When asked how the coup might impact the rescue program and the debt arrangement, an IMF spokesperson did not immediately comment.
During a protest in Khartoum on Tuesday, demonstrators erected a roadblock.
Associated Press photo by Marwan Ali
Analysts believe that in the absence of Western help, Sudan’s military commanders would rely on their tight connections with the UAE and Saudi Arabia. “It is more likely to prioritize these channels than continuing to support the highly unpopular IMF program,” said Edward Hobey-Hamsher, senior Africa analyst at risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.
The White House’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said Tuesday that the US was in frequent communication with regional leaders, particularly those in the Gulf, to convince Sudanese military officials to end violence against civilians and continue the democratic transition.
“In collaboration and consultation with regional players and other important nations, we will look at the full range of economic measures available to us to ensure that we are attempting to drive the whole Sudanese political process back in a constructive direction,” Mr. Sullivan said.
—This article was co-written by Ken Thomas.
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