The opposition to Sudan's military rulers planned a "march of millions" on Sunday in an effort to step up the pressure for a return to civilian rule.
A spokesperson for the Sudanese Professionals Association which has been at the centre of the protests said earlier this week that there would be renewed marches against the Transitional Military Council (TMC),
“We are calling and preparing for mass demonstrations on Sunday 30 June to make sure the military council hears the people’s voice in the streets and the Sudanese people will continue their revolution until the TMC meets their demands and reaches a civilian country.”
The date of 30 June this year is significant because it is the30th anniversary of the coup that brought previous dictator Omar al-Bashir to power and toppled Sudan’s last elected government.
Earlier in the week Sudan’s opposition leaders said they would agree to a compromise deal with the country’s military rulers.
But the Transitional Military Council (TMC) quickly rejected it. And in any case the deal, produced by Ethiopian government intervention, is far less than should be accepted.
The mass movement for democracy and social justice that began six months ago is at another crucial moment.
Protesters took to the streets again last week and this week despite ferocious repression.
Demonstrations 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 opposition group the Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC) called new mobilisations.
There were workplace protests and vigils, mass meetings, and marches in many cities.
Residents of El Imtidad district in Atbara in River Nile state launched a large march last Sunday denouncing the military junta and demanding a civilian government.
On Thursday of last week 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 a wave of workers’ protest vigils. One of those involved told Radio Dabanga that protesters held banners condemning “the massacre in Khartoum and demanding the handover of power by the military junta to civilians”.
There were also marches in Khartoum and several other cities.
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) 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.
In another speech he thanked Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt for this help.
He celebrated the fact that Sudan has 30,000 soldiers fighting in the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and reminded the EU that Sudan is “protecting” Europe by arresting millions of migrants.
There are multiple international interventions to “arbitrate” between the government and the opposition.
But they are all a trap. The Ethiopian deal would have given the chair of the ruling government body to the TMC for 18 months.
Such outside interventions reduce the struggling people of Sudan to spectators and bystanders.
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.
Only an acceleration of the strikes and protests in Sudan can break the TMC.