Following a coup attempt last week, thousands of people marched in Khartoum and other Sudanese cities in support of a civilian-led transition to democracy. The coup attempt, which officials from the transitional government placed on soldiers loyal to the previous administration of Omar al-Bashir, exposed fissures between military and civilian factions sharing power during a transition that is expected to culminate in elections.
Many protestors traveled by bus and rail from the cities of Atbara and Madani outside of Khartoum, as they did during anti-military protests shortly after al-Bashir’s ousting. Thousands of people waiting for trains chanted, “The army is Sudan’s army, not al-Burhan’s army,” referring to Sudan’s military and ruling Sovereignty Council Chairman, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
Civilians accused the military of overstepping its boundaries in the days and hours following the coup attempt, while generals blamed the civilian administration of the economy and political process, alleging that their forces had been neglected and insulted. After months of popular protests sparked by the continued economic crisis, the military deposed al-Bashir in April 2019. The civilian Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition then signed a power-sharing agreement with it.
The FFC backed rallies that converged on the central Khartoum headquarters of a task group working to overthrow al-Bashir’s regime. The task force’s protection was revoked by the military. Its leaders retaliated by declaring that their headquarters would serve as a war room for any forthcoming confrontation.