By Anne Alexander and Irang Bak
The coup launched by Sudanese military leaders on the morning of 25 October is being resisted by mass protests amid calls for total civil disobedience and a political general strike. After mass protests on 21 October, General Abdelfattah al-Burhan dissolved the government and military units took Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok away to an unknown location. He is being supported by the Rapid Support Forces, led by Mohamed Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, a militia commander responsible for a major massacre of protestors during the popular uprising in 2019.
The internet was shut down and flights from Khartoum airport suspended. Trade unions and revolutionary activist networks have responded by calling for mass protests, a political general strike and civil disobedience. Health workers unions which played a crucial role in the popular revolution two years ago are urging their members to walk out in protest at the coup.
“We are completely prepared to protect the democratic transition and civilian rule and announce a general strike in all Sudanese hospitals with the exception of emergency care, and withdrawal from all military hospitals”, said the United Doctors’ Bureau in a statement on Facebook.
Demonstrators are paying a heavy price, an activist currently in Sudan told Middle East Solidarity. “Protesters are going to the sit-in site in front of the military headquarters and there is news of live ammunition shot at peaceful protesters.” Later in the day, they messaged again “The numbers of injured protesters are huge: head traumas and live ammunition.”
Sudanese activists in Britain are mobilising in solidarity with the protests. At a few hours notice around 200 gathered outside the Sudanese embassy in London. Many were holding signs opposing the military coup and waving Sudanese flag. Protesters chanted for civilian rule and denounced the military coup. “We want democracy and peace”, the crowd chanted. They warned the military regime that the “Nubian queens and revolutionary boys are in the square” while a Nubian flag was seen being waved within the protest. Defiance and anger could be felt among the protesters as a speaker informed the gathering of the casualties in the streets of Sudan.
Sudanese doctors in Britain, many of whom work in the NHS, have also called for solidarity from abroad with the protestors risking their lives to resist the military coup. The Trade Union Committee of the Sudanese Doctors Union in the UK said in a statement:
“The coup leaders cannot turn back the hands of the clock, as the Sudanese people have declared “no way back”. Our people are capable of achieving what they want despite the attempts of the tyrants to kill our dreams of freedom, peace and justice.
We call on the masses to declare complete civil disobedience and take to the streets to oppose this coup. Our trade union committee will resist the coup by any means possible and will mobilise solidarity with the call by the United Doctors Office for a total general strike.”
Activists in Sudan have also warned that powerful regional and international forces are supporting the military. “Al-Burhan could have only taken this step with regional and international backing, as he is the representative of a regional axis which includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel, supported by the USA,” said revolutionary activist network Qidaaam in a post on Telegram. “But Al-Burhan will not be able to destroy life and freedom, instead the coup will open the door to a new stage in the Sudanese revolution … and the consolidation of a revolutionary leadership drawn from the rising generation of activists in the Resistance Committees, and trade union, professional and democratic organisations who are active building the revolution in the cities and the countryside.”
What you can do:
- Rush protests to the Sudanese Embassy in London, calling on the military to immediately cease all forms of repression and restore civilian rule. https://www.sudan-embassy.co.uk/contact/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sign our open letter from trade unionists and activists against the coup in Sudan https://www.change.org/NocoupinSudan
- Pass a resolution in your trade union branch
- Join a protest called by Sudanese activists – look out for demonstrations organised by the Sudanese community in your town or city – take your trade union banner down to show your support