Sudanese protesters against the country’s military rulers have taken to the streets again despite ferocious repression.
But the leaders of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) are refusing to step down.
Protests have been smaller since the massacre of around 110 people in Khartoum on 3 June and the calling-off of a subsequent general strike.
In an effort to regain momentum, the last few days have seen short workplace protests and vigils, mass meetings, and marches in some cities.
They were coordinated by the opposition group the Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC).
On Thursday workers in Khartoum held brief stoppages or demonstrated outside their workplaces at Dal group foods and auto distributors, the federal ministry of health, Khartoum bank, Agricultural Bank, the ministry of information and communication, Aweil energy, GT cigarettes and the National Electricity Corporation .
There were protests by teachers at Al Jazeera University, vets at the livestock ministry, doctors and other staff of the teaching dental hospital, some sections at Khartoum airport, engineers and other workers at the ministry of oil and pharmacists at the national board of medicines and toxins.
Kassala in eastern Sudan saw protest vigils organised by doctors, teachers, lawyers, university lecturers, and staff of Kassala state ministry of health, the Kassala Teaching Hospital, the ministry of education, the Court, the university of Kassala, and the health ministry.
One of those involved told Radio Dabanga that protesters held banners condemning “the massacre in Khartoum on 3 June and demanding the handover of power by the military junta to civilians”.
There were marches in Khartoum and each of the state capitals of Wad Madani, Al-Ubayyid and Port Sudan to call for the TMC to relinquish power.
Supporters at a football march also held an impromptu pro-democracy protest after the game.
All these protests are important, but they were smaller than the ones earlier this month.
It takes great courage to take to the streets. State forces continue to intimidate and harass the opposition. Some protesting workers were arrested.
The infamous Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have used whips to attack demonstrators and have occupied the sites where mass gatherings were planned.
Meanwhile Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan, deputy leader of the TMC and head of the RSF, has called on “all sectors of society to grant the military junta a collective mandate to form a transitional government”.
Hamdan, better known by his nickname Hemeti, on Thursday pledged the formation of a government of “independent technocrats” who will manage the country for up to two years.
That is a call for a dictatorship.
There are multiple international interventions to “arbitrate” between the government and the opposition. These include the “Sudan Troika” of Britain, the US and Norway that met in Berlin last week together with representatives of Saudi Arabia, UAR and Egypt. These regimes back the TMC.
There are also moves by the African Union, the Ethiopian government, and the government of South Sudan.
But they are all a trap. They reduce the struggling people of Sudan to spectators and bystanders. And they act to camouflage the TMC’s brutality.
They treat people such as Hemeti as valued partners instead of the murderers they actually are.
The TMC’s greatest fear is a return of the mass strikes that paralysed Sudan at the end of May and after 3 June.
The AFC has not called such action.
Too much blood has been shed to allow the TMC to maintain its rule. International solidarity with those fighting for change in Sudan is important.
But only an acceleration of the strikes and protests in Sudan can break the TMC.