The Sudanese revolt against the military coup faces a severe test.
Abdalla Hamdok, the ousted civilian prime minster, has done a deal with General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to lead a government of technocrats for a transitional period.
Most of the anti-coup opposition quickly denounced the move as a sham designed to give the appearance of change while the military effectively stay in charge.
After the deal was announced tens of thousands of people went ahead with demonstrations. Protesters chanted, “Hamdok has sold the revolution.”
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), a leading protest group of teachers, lecturers, doctors, engineers and lawyers, called the deal “treacherous”.
The Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), the coalition that shared power with the military before the coup, said the deal was a betrayal.
“We affirm our clear and previously announced position—no negotiation and no partnership and no legitimacy for the putschists,” said the alliance in a statement.
A statement signed by a group linking Resistance Committees in Khartoum City, Bahri, Greater Omdurman, South East Nile and El-Haj Youssef said, ““This agreement means nothing, we continue to hold to our position: no negotiations, no participation, no settlement”
It added, “We call on revolutionaries and the masses of our people to rally round the leadership of the revolution in the streets, represented by the Resistance Committees and the neighbourhoods, until the goals of the revolution are met by the downfall of the coup and the installation of a popular, civilian transitional authority.”
The Hamdok-al Burham deal is an attempt to end the revolution, not complete it. That’s why the United States, Britain and the European Union welcomed it. Their opposition to the coup was only ever because it might lead to growing protests and strikes in Sudan and wider in the region.
The generals blocked the transition to a civilian government in October because they did not want any reduction in their wealth and power. They also sought to avoid accountability for their crimes against protesters in 2019 and their massacres for years in Darfur.
They will not stand aside unless they think they can run the government in the background, whatever the outward appearance. Protests and strikes must be stepped up, not halted.
Al-Burhan and his co-conspirators such as the killer Mohamed “Hemetti” Hamdan Dagalo should be in jail, not making cosy deals.
Who will pay for the deaths and torture of protesters since 25 October? Where are the plans to transfer all the military’s wealth to Sudanese workers and the poor?
The true face of the military was unveiled on Sunday when soldiers shot dead a 16 year old protester in Omdurman.
This takes the number of people killed since the coup to over 40.
Protests on Wednesday of last week led to the deadliest repression so far, with the toll of those killed on that one day standing at 16.
The military killed 11 in Khartoum Bahri district, the centre of the neighbourhood resistance committees. Maab Salah, a member of the local resistance committee, said, “Almost every neighbourhood in Bahri today has a funeral.
“What we saw yesterday was something new. Police forces from different units all took part in the repression and killing yesterday. I even saw the traffic police firing on the protesters.”
It’s hugely important that most of the opposition has rejected the deal.
Now there are two key measures the anti-coup forces have to take.
The first is to keep up the demonstrations and to organise a general strike to paralyse the economy and reveal the narrow base of the new regime.
The second is to argue for a state—in opposition to the Hamdok-military government—based on the neighbourhood resistance committees and the workers’ organisations
Sudanese activists everywhere are debating how to move forward.
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