Huge protests gathered in Sudan’s capital Khartoum and other major cities at the start of this week in response to a military coup.
There is a chance that far from crushing the yearning for democracy and change, the military’s action may accelerate the process.
Soldiers launched the coup just before dawn on Monday. They arrested several members of the transitional government—which is a combination of civilian and military figures.
Civilian prime minister Abdallah Hamdok and at least four ministers were reported to be among those detained.
The coup is the latest turn in a series of revolts and extraordinary initiatives by ordinary people that has spanned nearly three years.
For six months at the start of 2019 mass mobilisation from below, punctuated by a series of local and then general strikes, were the driving force for change.
They first brought down the repressive rule of Omar al-Bashir who had ruled for 30 years since a military coup.
Then ordinary workers and wider groups of the poor and oppressed defeated the military’s attempts to stall real change.
Hundreds of thousands of people joined sit-ins in city squares. They demanded an end to military rule.
But they also began creating basic elements of running parts of society themselves—food distribution, security to defend the revolutionaries, medical provision and more.
A general strike in May brought large parts of the economy to a halt, and workers began to create networks of resistance.
In June 2019, trying to thwart the uprising, the military and its allies stormed the Khartoum sit-in and killed at least 120 people.
But the military could not crush the resistance.
A rotten agreement in August 2019 saw “power-sharing” between the Transitional Military Council which took over after Bashir was overthrown, and the pro-democracy movement.
It was headed by lieutenant general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan—who has now led the coup.
In October 2019 and July 2020 people took to the streets demanding that the transition away from military rule sped up.
The battle between the military and democrats has sharpened in recent days. The military absurdly tried to organise “popular” protests calling for them to take over. But they were outnumbered by big marches calling for civilian rule.
Now the military has swooped in.
It will be crucial for the movement to abandon all illusions in negotiated agreements with the generals and instead sweep them away.
They must not rely on powers such as Britain and the US who will demand “calm”.
And revolutionaries have to fight to set up workers’ councils and armed self-defence to bring about real change.
Palestinian human rights groups banned as ‘terrorist’
Israel has banned and branded six Palestinian human rights groups, charities and civil society organisations as “terrorist organisations”.
The move comes after a Palestinian mass revolt earlier this year shone a light on Israel’s racism and violent occupation.
The six include Addameer, which supports Palestinian political prisoners, and Al-Haq, a human rights organisation that works with the United Nations.
Addameer gives free representation and legal advice to hundreds of Palestinians locked in Israeli prisons.
Al-Haq records breaches of international humanitarian law in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, which are under Israeli military occupation.
Other banned organisations are the Union of Agricultural Work Committees and Defense for Children International—Palestine.
The banning effectively outlaws the organisations’ activities and allows Israeli authorities to close their offices, seize their assets and jail their staff.
It comes after violence by Israeli forces and settlers against Palestinians has intensified as the occupation becomes more entrenched.
Bolsonaro should face court for his crimes
A congressional inquiry has found that far right Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro should be tried for “crimes against humanity” for his handling of the Covid pandemic.
A 1180-page document released by the upper house’s parliamentarian commission accuses Bolsonaro of ten crimes.
These include incitement to commit crimes and the misuse of public funds.
One main accusation is that the government “omitted and chose to act in a non-technical and reckless manner in the fight against the pandemic. Deliberately exposing the population to a concrete risk of massive infection.”
Currently Covid has killed over 600,000 people in Brazil. The report labels this an “intentional crime”.
Bolsonaro responded that he was “guilty of nothing”.
Already Bolsonaro’s approval ratings have been on a downward spiral. Polls overwhelmingly predict that he will lose to ex-president Lula da Silva in next year’s presidential elections.