An agreement to share power in Sudan broke down last week as Sudan’s army brutally attacked protesters. The protesters are now holding a nationwide strike, hoping to force the army to agree to their demands.
In April, after months of protests by hundreds of thousands of people, President Omar al-Bashir was forced out by the army. Mr. al-Bashir ruled Sudan harshly for 30 years. Many people believe he and others in his government should be arrested for killing thousands of their own people.
Inside Sudan’s government are several powerful groups, including the military and police forces. The military are people from armed forces such as the army.
On April 11, the military removed Mr. al-Bashir, and announced they would run the government for two years before holding elections.
The Sudanese people kept protesting. They didn’t want anyone who was part of Mr. al-Bashir’s government to remain in power. Slowly, many people who worked with Mr. al-Bashir were forced out.
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan is now in charge of the military group running the government. In the past, he has been less violent than many of Sudan’s leaders, and more open to the ideas of the protesters.
Mr. al-Burhan’s group is called the Transitional Military Council (TMC). “Transitional” means it is a temporary government, not a permanent one.
The TMC made a deal with the protesters, who call themselves the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC). The FFC wants a civilian government – a government run by the people and not by the military.
The TMC and the FFC agreed that the people and the military would govern the country together for three years and then turn power over to a civilian government.
But the TMC suddenly canceled that deal last week and began a violent attack on the protesters. On Monday, over 100 people were killed and close to 800 were injured. Many others were arrested. The TMC announced it would hold elections in nine months.
Countries around the world complained about the violence of the attacks. Even some countries which support the TMC, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, aren’t happy about the crackdown.
In Sudan, the protesters responded by calling a general strike. Millions of people across the country stayed home instead of going to work.
A great response to the call which launched by Declaration of Freedom and Change for #Civil_Disobedience starting from today 09 June until overthrowing of Military Junta and #Janjweed Militias in #Sudan
Photos from #Kharoum City #Sudan_civil_disobedience #SudanMassacre pic.twitter.com/MxY5CyFmdf
— SCPSudanEnglish (@ScpSudanEnglish) June 9, 2019
Stores, restaurants, and banks were closed and the streets were empty in the capital, Khartoum, and in other cities around the country. There were even reports that Khartoum’s airport was closed.
The military has tried to break the strike by arresting some people and forcing others to go to work. The internet has been cut off in most of the country, making it hard for protesters to report on the actions of the military.
إغلاق كامل للمحلات التجارية في سوق #السجانة أحد أكبر أسواق العاصمة #الخرطوم في ثاني أيام #العصيان_المدني_الشامل الذي دعت له قوي #اعلان_الحريه_والتغيير حتي إسقاط المجلس العسكري الإنقلابي ومليشيا #الجنجويد في #السودان #العصيان_المدني_الشامل٢#SudanCivilDisobedienc pic.twitter.com/ogwpMbAZSh
— حزب المؤتمر السوداني (@SCP_Sudan) June 10, 2019
The protesters say the strike will continue until the military government quits and allows a civilian government to take over. The protesters have rejected the TMC’s request for new talks. The FFC have also called for protesters to block important roads and bridges.
For now it is a question of which method will win out first – the violent attacks of the TMC or the peaceful protests of the Sudanese people.
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