Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese in several cities in the capital, Khartoum and other cities of the country in protest demonstrations to demand a democratic transition and the handover of power to civilians.
At a time when hundreds flocked to join the sit-in in front of the Republican Palace to demand the dissolution of the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok and the handing over of power to the army.
The three capital cities of Omdurman, Khartoum and Bahri witnessed unprecedented popular protests calling for justice and the completion of the transitional authority structures.
The protests were not limited to the capital, Khartoum, but extended to other cities such as El Obeid in North Kordofan, Madani in central Sudan, Atbara in the north of the country and Kosti in the south.
Protesters also came out in several cities in Darfur states, such as El Fasher, Nyala and Zalanhi.
The demonstrators raised banners calling for the dissolution of the current partnership between the civilian and military components of the transitional government. Others also raised slogans calling for peace and justice.
The demonstrations come in response to calls by political parties and professional unions such as the Sudanese Professionals Association and the Resistance Committees.
October 12 demonstrations are “peaceful”
And he urged mass leaders in Sudan to remain peaceful in the demonstrations that are protesting the suffering of the country in its transition to civilian rule.
The Sudanese Professionals Association said in a statement on its official Facebook page: “We call upon all sectors of professionals and the lively revolutionary and trade union forces in all parts of Sudan to go out to the streets and actively participate in the million processions on Thursday, October 21, 2021.”
The statement added: “We renew our firm position on the current authority, which is that it does not represent the revolution, but rather that it sails against the wishes of the masses.”
The head of the Transitional Sovereign Council, Abdel-Fattah Al-Burhan, stressed on Wednesday the keenness of the armed forces and the civilian component to make the transitional period a success, “to reach an elected civilian government that meets the aspirations of the Sudanese people.”
A statement by the Transitional Sovereignty Council stated that Al-Burhan met with the Minister of African Affairs at the British Foreign Office Vicky Ford, where he stressed “the commitment to the constitutional document and the preservation of the partnership between the military and civilian components.”
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a tweet on the eve of expected protests today, Thursday, that his country calls on the Sudanese people to exercise their right to peaceful assembly “without violence” in line with the transitional period.
The US Embassy in Sudan also urged civilian and military leaders to work together to overcome differences between them and take the necessary measures to implement the basic standards of the constitutional declaration.
The embassy said through its official account on Twitter: “The US embassy is aware of the calls for the Sudanese to demonstrate on Thursday to express their views on the current situation in the country.”
“We encourage peaceful demonstrators and remind them of the strong American support for the democratic transition in Sudan to achieve freedom, peace and justice,” she added.
Opposing civilian factions – including a pro-army faction – under the umbrella of the Forces for Freedom and Change, had called for mass rallies to be held today, Thursday.
Ali Ammar, a mass leader who belongs to the mainstream in the Alliance for Freedom and Change, urged Sudanese to “fill the streets on Thursday across the country to protect civilian rule and the democratic transition.”
Ammar said, in a press conference yesterday, Wednesday, that the demonstrators will not approach the presidential palace or the government building, in order to avoid clashes with the demonstrators.
In 2019, the Forces of Freedom and Change coalition led demonstrations that swept across Sudan and led the way to the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir.
The main current in the Civil Alliance supports Abdullah Hamdok’s government and Sudan’s transition to civilian rule, but a splinter faction from the coalition came out demanding the dissolution of Hamdok’s government.
On the other hand, Minni Minawi, a prominent leader of the renegade faction, urged pro-army protesters to maintain order at Thursday’s demonstration.
At a press conference, Minawi, who was also a rebel leader, said: “October 21 is a day for tolerance, not for incitement or violence.”
Opponents accuse elements of the army and security forces of mobilizing pro-army and anti-revolutionary demonstrators.
Civilian parties accuse the army of attempting a coup, in a continuous political escalation between the two sides since a coup attempt last month.
Republican Palace sit-in
As for the Republican Palace, which witnessed a sit-in by protesters demanding the dissolution of the government, hundreds flocked to join the protesters.
The protesters in the presidential palace, who came under tribal banners, are also demanding better living conditions and peace.
A splinter group of the Forces for Freedom and Change known as the National Accord has adopted the Republican Palace protests.
Demonstrators representing the dissident faction organized a sit-in in front of the presidential palace in the capital, Khartoum, for five days, calling for “military rule.”
Some protesters urged Major General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, who heads the country’s ruling Sovereign Council – which is composed of civilians and military – to seize power.
These developments come in light of a severe economic and political crisis in Sudan.
About two weeks ago, the Sudanese government warned that the country’s stocks of vital medicines are about to run out, in light of the continuing crisis of closing the main ports on the Red Sea coast by protesters.