Sudan. Three Presidents In One Week

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By Tagawa Warrag

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In December 2018, protests across Khartoum and other Sudanese states took place, and continued for four consecutive months. The evolving of protests into the massive Al-Qiyada sit-in was preceded by killings of protesters with live bullets (estimated 66 killings since December, according to social and human right activists), tear gas and mass arrests.

El Bashir’s ruling party, and in his clinging to power, announced a march past week, and invited for El Bashir’s supporters in different states to come to Khartoum and participate. This only to be announced as canceled on his last night as the president of Sudan.

The major Khartoum sit-in started on April 6th, 2019 on the anniversary day of the Sudanese revolution that overthrew Numeri dictatorship regime in 1985. Christians, Muslims, Sufis, musicians, poets, housewives, students and unemployed all join the protests in hundreds of thousands taking only specific roads to the sit-in location that are guarded by some military members , while at the same time, Bashir’s National Intelligence and Security Services’ forces were conducting massive random searching campaigns for people’s phones and cars in streets, blocking social media, arresting, and beating anyone who’s suspected to be in their way to the sit-in’s location.

Protesters at Sudan’s mass anti-regime sit-in, watch the football match of Barcelona vs Man-United on screens they set up on April 10th, 2019. Image credit: Yousra Elbagir.

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Thursday, April 11th 2019 – Awad Ibn Auf

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Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf – Image credit: Radio Tamazuj

Afternoon of April 11th announced Omer El Bashir as overthrown, and Ibn Auf as the leader for the military transitional council. The statement which was aired across national radio and TV stations and was read by Ibn Auf himself has also included a two-year transitional period followed by elections, three months of emergency state, curfew for three months between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m., releasing of all political detainees, and the arresting of Omer El Bashir in a “safe place”. There was no mention of any trails for members of the dissolved regime. In addition, Ibn Auf was not a popular figure among Sudanese citizens, and people, in general, did not welcome the idea of a new military government.

Ibn Auf and former president Omer El Bashir are first cousins, in lows, and are both involved in crimes relating to the Darfur conflict. Between celebrating El Bashir’s overthrowing, and protesting Ibn Auf for taking charges, protesters remained in streets and sit-ins.

 

 

 

Friday, April 12th 2019 – AbdulFattah Burhan

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Abdel Fattah Abdel Rahman Burhan – Image credit: Vaaju

Ibn Auf statement declared his resignation on the night of April 12th as the chairman for the transitional military council, and assigned the position to Abdul Fattah Burhan instead. This made Ibn Auf the Sudanese president to rule for the shortest period of barely 48 hours.

Before his resignation, Ibn Auf was already rejected by the Sudanese streets, which showed in the increasing numbers of protesters in the Al Qiyada sit-in.

Al-Qiyada (the location of military HQ where the sit-in is taking place) and Khartoum streets went into celebration immediately after Ibn Auf resignation announcement. Chants of protesters were between “we took down two presidents in two days” and “we are moving towards the right direction with revolution. The martyrs’ blood has not gone astray.”

On the other hand, part of the Sudanese street was skeptical about the rapid change in power. They see the release of most -but not all- of the political detainees, canceling the emergency state in the country, and the immediate change of the rejected Ibn Auf, all as military tactics that are planned only to absorb the anger from protesters in order to end the sit-in.  Azaz Shami, a Sudanese activist and social justice advocate who’s based on the US, questioned this change of power as being organic or just a reshuffling of names, in an interview held with AlJazeera English.

 

Declaration of Freedom and Change

The Sudanese Professionals Association, the main leading organizer for the protests that began in December 2018, has rejected the army statement that night, and encouraged protesters on April 12th to remain in the sit-in until Burhan’s statement (the new assigned chairman for the transitional military council) is declared.

The declaration of freedom and change issued on January 1st 2019 by the Sudanese Professionals Association has included three main goals:

  • The immediate end of El Bashir presidency.
  • The formation of a transitional government of qualified people and which represents various Sudanese groups. Its role is to govern for 4 years until a second democratic structure is established.
  • Putting an immediate end to violence against peaceful protesters, and bringing the perpetrators of crimes against the Sudanese people for fair trials.

On April 13th, 2019’s, Sudanese woke up to the news of Salah Gush resignation but the frustration of protesters increased even more, as it was expected for Gosh to be among the dissolved regime members who will be tried for his contributions in the killing of peaceful protesters. Salah Gosh was the former national security advisor and the director of Sudan’s NISS (National Security and Intelligence Services)

As more statements and press conferences are being held by military representatives the past three days, protesters don’t see met demands and are encouraging more to remain on the streets.