By Charlie Kimber
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Sudanese protesters resist coup in face of brutal military repression

Issue 2778
Protesters in the city of Atbara on Tuesday
Protesters in the city of Atbara on Tuesday

Huge protests are sweeping across Sudan to confront the military coup that took place on Monday.

The independent news service Radio Dabanga reports that protesters chant, “Returning to the past is not an option,” and, “The people are stronger.” They blocked streets and burned car tyres, especially in the cities of Khartoum and Omdurman.

Large numbers also took to the street in Atbara, a city that has a long history of militant workers’ resistance.

Protests are also taking place in other parts of the country. In El Gezira in the Red Sea state and River Nile state people have blocked roads and chanted slogans against coup leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

“The revolution is a revolution of the people,” said the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which is led by doctors, engineers and lawyers. “Power and wealth belongs to the people. No to a military coup.”

Brutal repression—which saw state forces kill at least seven people on the first day of protests and 140 injured—has not stopped the fightback. Thousands of protesters stormed the perimeter of the Sudanese Armed Forces general command building in Khartoum before the military forces fired bullets and tear gas.

A large number of demonstrators also gathered in front of the parliament in Omdurman.

Importantly, organised workers are also acting.

The Sudanese Teachers’ Committee urged all school workers to join the civil disobedience and street protests until full civilian rule.

Hospital workers’ organisations have declared a national strike except for emergencies and say they will withdraw from military hospitals.

But the Socialist Doctors’ Association did call for setting up emergency first aid facilities for protesters.

“Revolution until victory,” says their statement.

Sudan’s military seized power on Monday, detaining the prime minister and other civilian political leaders.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the military chief, announced at a news conference that he was dissolving the country’s joint civilian-military government.

This government had emerged after a long period of struggle in 2019. Under the terms of the transition agreement, al-Burhan was supposed to hand control of the sovereignty council to a civilian leader in the coming weeks.

Planned 

Escalating protests are planned.

The Joint Chamber of the Marches of the Millions for Civilian rule and Democratic Transition has published its “revolutionary escalation schedule”. Although many people are already moving at a faster pace than this programme.

On Monday, it called on trade unions to hold speeches and vigils across Sudan.

From Thursday, the chamber had called on all Sudanese people to organise protest vigils on highways, in front of government buildings and in front of embassies abroad.

It planned nightly marches and demonstrations on Friday and national protests on the following day. These will demand a full handover of power to civilians.

Sudan - revolution at the crossroads
Sudan – revolution at the crossroads
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The SPA called on the people of Sudan to break the state of emergency rules with large crowds and evening activities. And said that Burhan must face “the wrath of a people liberated from fear by the December [2018] revolution”.

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, which claim to support democracy but will try to block real transformation.

And there must be an argument inside the anti-military forces about bringing together fundamental social change as well as political change.

Moving from revolt to revolution requires a force that can organise the defeat of the military and run society in a new way. There need to be workers’ councils that involve elected and accountable representatives from workplaces.

These can act as a focus for and involve other groups that have been prominent in recent revolts. This includes women’s organisations, for example, and the movements for equality and rights in the Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions.

This is a moment when the attempt to stifle revolt can instead lead to a deepening and acceleration of revolt.

For solidarity actions with the Sudan democracy protesters go here 

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