WorldApril 2019International NewsAfricaMiddle EastConflict and Security

Demonstrations in Sudan Continue Despite Regime Overhaul

Harshana Ghoorhoo
Staff Writer

Protesters finally rejoiced on Thursday, April 11, after the Sudanese military forced out and arrested President Omar al-Bashir on war crimes charges. The move came after thousands of people gathered outside the military headquarters urgently pressing for a transition of government from the tyrannical regime, The New York Times reported.

While peaceful anti-government demonstrations had been taking place since December 2018, the week of April 7 saw large crowds of angry protesters flocking into the capital Khartoum, each calling for al-Bashar to step down. The military condemned the sit-in, with a spokesperson stating that the country would be dragged into chaos unless it urgently and nonviolently dealt with the ongoing crisis. Sudanese soldiers later attempted to dissolve the anti-government protests that Tuesday, killing 14 people in the process, according to Washington Post.

The Sudanese military did comply with protester demands by the end of the week and arrested al-Bashar, an authoritarian ruler who had been in power for over three decades. The military has now taken power and announced that it will manage a transitional period for a maximum period of two years, until new elections take place and a new civilian rule is established, BBC News stated.

Still, the demonstrators remain in Khartoum, now protesting what they see as a military regime and an extension of al-Bashar’s government, reports BBC News. According to their demands, the transitional government should not have any ties with the tyrannical regime currently in power, and the current head of the new military council, Defense Minister Awad Ibn Auf, needs to hand over control so that a democratic government can be set in place.

As the growing number of demonstrators reached into the hundreds of thousands, a representative for the military declared that the army did not intend to seek power and Sudan’s future would be decided alongside the population. He added that the army would still maintain public order and have no tolerance for disturbances or any acts of violence until elections could take place.

Since the protests intensified, the military council has now set up a citywide curfew, closing down all land and maritime borders until the situation shows some amelioration. However, demonstrators have disregarded the curfew and remained outside the military headquarters.

While most of the international community supports Sudan’s regime overhaul, it has also requested that the military to proceed with caution. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the situation to be handled with calm restraint, stating that the transition of power should occur as per the people’s wishes.

The UK, the U.S., and Norway publically denounced the actions of the Sudanese military, each stating that the defacto authorities should adhere to the demands of the protesters and deliver a credible action plan outlining the political transition, the Washington Post reported. Russia also called for a peaceful approach to the situation and affirmed that it is closely monitoring the situation, a controversial stance as the country has already hosted Mr. al-Bashir twice despite his international travel ban.

Conversely, the African Union has expressed its discontent with the military takeover, arguing that it will in no way solve the current challenges that Sudan is facing and is seemingly against the aspirations of the people, a BBC News report stated.

With no talks about elections being set up soon in order to speed up the political transition, it is unlikely that the demonstrations will be coming to a halt any time soon. Therefore, it remains to be seen what actions will be taken so as to bring about an end to the protests as well as ensure that a democratic rule will be set up to advance the population’s ideologies and hope for a better future.

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