Thousands of opponents of military power demonstrate Saturday in Sudan where the authorities cut the Internet and the telephone in an attempt to stem a mobilization that does not weaken two months after the putsch of General Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and a repression that has already kills 48.
In the early hours of the day, the authorities headed by the general author of the October 25 putsch tried to lock down the country: first, the mobile internet disappeared, then the telephone communications no longer worked and the demonstrators who were planning Coming from different neighborhoods and suburbs to the presidential palace in Khartoum discovered that during the night cranes had come to drop huge containers across the bridges over the Nile.
Thousands of people in Karthoum
Nevertheless, at the beginning of the afternoon, as each time they demonstrate, they were again thousands, under a swarm of Sudanese flags and the ululations of demonstrators to conspire the army, its leader Burhane and even the civilian Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, who returned to his post by agreeing to recognize the post-coup de facto state of affairs, and therefore the extension of General Burhane’s mandate at the head of the country for two years.
According to witnesses, there were thousands in Khartoum and its suburbs and hundreds in Madani, a town 150 kilometers south of the capital.
« The world must watch »
Less than a week ago, for the third anniversary of the launch of the « revolution » which in 2019 forced the army to end 30 years of the military-Islamist dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir, supporters of a civil power had shown that they could still mobilize. That day, the security forces fired live ammunition, rained tear gas canisters on the hundreds of thousands of them who took to the streets and even used, according to the UN, a weapon already used in Darfur in war: rape.
On Saturday, the authorities resorted to another major tool: as during nearly a month after the putsch, they cut the Sudanese off from the world. « Freedom of expression is a fundamental right and that includes full access to the Internet », has already protested the UN envoy, Volker Perthes, recalling that « no one should be arrested for having intended to demonstrate ”while the militants report raids since Friday evening in their ranks.
Fearing a new outburst of violence, the pro-democracy doctors’ union which has identified the victims of the repression since 2018 said « ask the world to watch what will happen » while the activists are struggling to get images out of the country via diaspora activists.
Next meeting on the 30th
The processions must converge on the presidential palace, because it is now there that the transitional authorities headed by General Burhane sit. But as of Friday, the governorate of Khartoum warned: the security forces « will take care of those who break the law and create chaos » in particular around « buildings of strategic sovereignty », while at each demonstration, the The first shots took place in front of the Parliament, the presidential palace or the army headquarters.
Apparently, after his putsch denounced by the whole world or almost, General Burhane reinstated civilian Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, but Sudan still has no government, a sine qua non for the resumption of international aid, vital for this country, one of the poorest in the world. In addition, he promises the first free elections for decades in July 2023, without convincing the supporters of a solely civilian power in the country, under the rule of the army almost without interruption in 65 years of independence. They have already announced that they will demonstrate again on December 30 in Sudan mired in political stagnation and inflation at over 300%.
Last Sunday in spite of everything, the anti-putsch crossed an important symbolic level: in the evening, at the gates of the presidential palace, they had announced an “unlimited sit-in”, the modus operandi of the “revolution” of 2019 which, at the end of months of sit-in, had overthrown Bashir. Within hours, the security forces had managed to disperse the thousands of protesters with sticks.