Sudan’s army took power on Monday, dismissing the interim government just hours after the prime minister was detained by troops. Scores of people took to the streets to condemn the takeover, which undermines the country’s fragile democratic progress.
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The coup comes only weeks before the army was due to hand over control of the nation’s ruling council to citizens; this is more than two years after demonstrators forced the downfall of lifelong despot Omar al-Bashir.
Protesters filled the streets of Khartoum, as well as Omdurman, when Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other key leaders were arrested early that morning. Security personnel fired tear gas to disperse protesters as they stopped roads and set fire to tires.
Activists could be heard yelling “the masses are tougher, powerful” and “retreat is not a choice!” as clouds of smoke hung in the air. Large groups were seen crossing bridges across the Nile to the city’s heart in videos posted on social media.
Meanwhile, the US consulate said troops were sealing off portions of the city.
Sudan: Protests again the coup in Khartoum pic.twitter.com/UPxHtXVgML
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) October 25, 2021
As per the Sudanese Doctors Association, at least 12 protestors were injured during protests, though no specifics were provided.
General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the leader of the army, said on national television in the evening he was dismissing the cabinet and the national council. This was a joint military-civilian council formed shortly after the overthrow of Bashir to manage the country.
Political squabbles, according to Burhan, drove the army to interfere. Tensions have been mounting for months over the path and speed of Sudan’s political transformation.
The general announced martial law and stated the army will establish a technocratic government to implement the nation to elections in July 2023. However, he made it plain the military will continue to be in charge.
Sudan's Hamdok moved to unknown location after refusing to support coup https://t.co/3n5TKAySmL pic.twitter.com/qFZT1bMsIG
— Reuters (@Reuters) October 25, 2021
He went on to say the Constitution and Bill of Rights would be updated; furthermore, a legislative branch will be established with the help of “men and women who led this movement.”
His speech was dubbed an “official statement of a coup d’etat by a military coup” by the Information Ministry, which remained loyal to the defunct government.
EU Foreign Policy Minister Joseph Borrell stated he was “very concerned” about the situation. The suspensions of government officials were deemed “inappropriate” by the United Nations political mission in Sudan.
The United States’ top diplomat to the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, said Monday’s events “seriously worried” Washington.
Sudan has attempted to gradually cleanse itself of the worldwide renegade status it acquired under al-Bashir, who stays in jail. In 2020, the nation was removed from the United States’ list of state sponsors of terrorism, allowing it to access much needed foreign financing and investments.
Sudan’s industry, on the other hand, failed to cope with a series of economic changes demanded by international financial institutions.