Sudan activists reject power-sharing with army and call strikes

Sudanese military seized power in October, arresting dozens of government figures

Sudan’s protest movement has rejected internationally backed initiatives to return to a power-sharing arrangement with the military after last month’s coup, announcing two days of nationwide strikes starting on Sunday.

The movement called for the establishment of a civilian government to lead a transition to democracy.

The call came as a leader of the country’s main political party accused the military leadership of negotiating in bad faith.

The Sudanese military seized power on October 25th, dissolving the transitional administration and arresting dozens of government officials and politicians.


The coup has been met with international outcry and massive protests in the streets of Khartoum and elsewhere in the country.

The takeover has upended the country’s fragile planned transition to democratic rule, more than two years after a popular uprising forced the removal of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government.

Since the coup, the international community has accelerated mediation efforts to find a way out of the crisis, which threatens to further destabilise the already restive Horn of Africa region.

The Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which led the uprising against al-Bashir, said late on Friday that mediation initiatives which “seek a new settlement” between the military and civilian leaders would “reproduce and worsen” the country’s crisis.

The association vowed to continue protesting until a full civilian government is established to lead the transition.

Under the slogan, “no negotiations, no compromise, no power-sharing”, the association called for strikes and civil disobedience on Sunday and Monday.

On Thursday, the top United States diplomat spoke separately by phone with the military leader, Gen Abdel-Fattah Burhan, and Abdalla Hamdok, the deposed prime minister who was put under house arrest during the coup.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken urged for an immediate return to a civilian-led government and for the release of those detained in connection with the coup.

Sudan’s state-run SUNA news agency reported that Gen Burhan vowed to “complete the transition and preserve the country’s security . . . until reaching an elected civilian government”.

Al-Wathig al-Berier, the secretary general of the Umma party, urged the international community on Friday to pressure the military to de-escalate.

Since the coup, the generals have continued to dismantle the transitional government and arrest pro-democracy leaders. The Umma is Sudan’s largest political party and has ministers in the now-deposed government.

“We truly need to prepare the atmosphere and de-escalate matters so that we can sit at the table,” al-Berier told the Associated Press.

“But clearly the military faction is continuing with its plan and there are no efforts to show good will.”

He was referring to Thursday’s arrest of leaders from the Forces for Freedom and Change, a coalition that was born out of the 2019 protest movement.

The military detained three leaders of the movement shortly after they met with UN officials on Thursday in Khartoum. The meeting was part of UN-led mediation efforts.

Al-Berier said the mediation efforts have yet to produce results, blaming the military for that failure. He warned of possible bloodshed since the military and the protest movement have become increasingly entrenched in their positions.

He urged the international community to increase pressure on the military leaders to reverse the coup.

“In these initial stages, we hope that they continue strong pressure. This pressure has to be more than just tweets. This pressure needs to have mechanisms that could create real pressure on the military component,” he said. – Associated Press