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Sudan’s civilian prime minister has returned to office, but protests continueExBulletin

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Sudanese women sing during a demonstration calling for a return to civilian rule in the capital Khartoum on Sunday.

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Sudanese women sing during a demonstration calling for a return to civilian rule in the capital Khartoum on Sunday.

AFP through Getty Images

One month after the coup that toppled civilian leaders in Sudan, protesters demanded the return of civilian rule. And the military seems to be moving behind the seizure of power.

The army has reinstated the civilian prime minister, but recently the streets were again filled with protesters calling on the army to stop its involvement in running the country.

How did Sudan get to this point

The last few years have been full of ups and downs for Sudan. In 2019, popular protests sparked a coup that toppled longtime leader Omar al-Bashir and formed a transitional government.

Then, last month, the military staged another coup and arrested many civilian leaders, including Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok. At that time tens of thousands took to the streets to protest. As a result, dozens of them were killed.

To reduce tensions with protesters, the military signed an agreement with Hamdok. He was released from custody and reappointed as Prime Minister of Sudan. Hamdok says he accepted the deal because he did not want more protesters killed.


Sudan’s senior general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (left) and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok raised the documents during a signing ceremony of the agreement to restore the transition to civilian rule in the country in the capital Khartoum on November 21, 2021.

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Sudan’s senior general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan (left) and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok raised the documents during a signing ceremony of the agreement to restore the transition to civilian rule in the country in the capital Khartoum on November 21, 2021.

AFP through Getty Images

What the protesters want

Sudan’s problems are economic and social and are profound. Many people had hope in 2019 after al-Bashir was ousted. They hoped the 2019 coup would liberalize the country, bring lasting peace to regions outside Khartoum, and make it more democratic.

But many Sudanese say this feels like a distant goal, perhaps even impossible. Zainab Adel and Nawrz Salah have joined the protests for years. Both are young girls who say their hope is being tested.


Sudanese protesters against the coup wave the national flag during a demonstration in the Khartoum-Bahri neighborhood of the capital, on November 25, 2021.

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Sudanese protesters against the coup wave the national flag during a demonstration in the Khartoum-Bahri neighborhood of the capital, on November 25, 2021.

AFP through Getty Images

“I do not know how to express my feelings,” says Adel. “I do not want to live here.”

Salah says that after what happened recently, she fears that the pace of change in Sudan will be slow. Maybe, she estimates, the place she dreams of will develop after 10 years.

This assessment comes in part because the agreement that Prime Minister Hamdok signed with the military is a power-sharing agreement. Under the agreement, Hamdok is prime minister, but General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan continues to lead the transitional government.

How can the agreement shape Sudan’s future

In Thursday’s protests, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered across the country to reject the deal. Protesters in Khartoum said they also had no problem rejecting Hamdok as well.

At the moment, this is a battle between pragmatism and idealism, with Hamdok seeming to have taken the pragmatic path. His argument is that the military has guns, so there is no way to bypass them without bloodshed.

Protesters, on the other hand, are more idealistic. They want the army to be completely removed from government and held accountable by a civilian commander-in-chief.


Sudanese protesters against the coup take part in a demonstration on “Route 40” in the twin city of the capital Omdurman on November 25, 2021.

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Sudanese protesters against the coup take part in a demonstration on “Route 40” in the twin city of the capital Omdurman on November 25, 2021.

– / AFP via Getty Images

Walking near the burnt tires and barricaded roads, protester Mohammed Hajj said they were not angry with Hamdok or even with the security forces who have killed dozens of protesters. But their goal was clear: if Sudan is to change, the military must step down.

“This move is not about anger,” he said. “We are trying to build a better future for our children. We are not even thinking of living that future.”

Previously, Hamdok has been able to instruct most of the young protesters to accept pragmatic agreements that are steps on Sudan’s path to democracy, but what is clear at the moment is that he is not in step with the protesters on the streets. Sudanit. .

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2/ https://www.npr.org/2021/11/25/1059093325/sudans-civilian-prime-minister-has-been-reinstated-but-the-protests-continue

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