The Sudanese people thought that the era of repression was over, but it began to resurface again, as the police arrested about 100 people, most of them teachers, during a demonstration outside the Ministry of Education in Bahri, north of Khartoum.
The teacher Khadda Khaled Sheeb – a mother of 6 children – said that they fired tear gas, and so we ran to the buildings and they followed us. They had whips and plastic tubes in their hands, and they were beating people. They put us in a van and told us to sit on the floor, a woman’s leg got broken, another pregnant woman started to feel contractions, and I was told she miscarried after that.
Following the coup of Al-Burhan, the Sudanese people are back to feeling lost and unsafe.
Nearly 3 weeks ago, dozens of people from the leaders of the resistance committees, ministers, and representatives of civil society and opposition parties were arrested and they remain in detention imprisoned, while the ousted Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok is still under house arrest, with no right to movement or contacting anyone.
Earlier, Al-Burhan announced a new Sovereign Council that would be responsible for leading the transitional period, and retained its presidency for himself. He gave freedom for leaders of the former rebel movements who signed peace with Khartoum at the end of 2020, and dismissed 4 civilian representatives from the Forces of Freedom and Change, that The Grand Coalition formed in 2019 to topple former President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, 4 months after the popular revolution.
“They (the military) did not waste time,” said Omar Babiker, a leader in the teachers’ union in the capital. “In the Ministry of Education, they fired the director, Mohamed Ibrahim, who was very active during the revolution, and replaced him with one of a figure of the old regime.”
Researcher Kholoud Khair, co-founder of the research center Insight Strategy Partners, said “We must not forget that Al-Burhan was part of this regime, It opens the door wide for al-Bashir’s group, brings back those who have been dismissed and even arrested, in part because no one else is willing to work with him.”
Lawyer and feminist activist Tahani Abbas – who was with many women on the front lines during the revolution – says, “We are all in danger, they may come and take us one by one. During the revolution the army attacked my house looking for me and sent me threatening letters. I had to send my 4-years-old child outside Khartoum to my mother to be safe. The situation is just the same today! Of course I’m afraid all the time. But can we back out now? No, it’s not possible.”
Our organization calls on the Military Council to retract the steps it has taken, which led to the erosion of rights and a return to a democratic system of government based on the people’s choices and the rule of law.
The international community should take practical steps to pressure the Sovereign Military Council not to suppress the opponents, to relinquish power and hand it over to an interim technocratic government that will prepare the atmosphere for holding elections through which the democratic life of Sudanese society will be restored.