Sudan’s dictator gone, dictatorship not yet

This 12 April 2019 video says about itself:

Sudan between hope and despair | DW News

The army has seized power in Sudan and warns anti-government protestors to stay off the streets as it imposes a strict curfew. It’s not quite what demonstrators were hoping for when they demanded the end to the presidency of Omar al-Bashir.

By Jean Shaoul:

Pre-emptive military coup ousts Bashir to protect Sudan’s elite

12 April 2019

Sudan’s army has stepped in to oust President Omar al-Bashir, in an effort to put an end to the months of mass protests and strikes calling for the ouster of his regime.

Awad Ibn Auf, the minister of defence and deputy president, announced Thursday that the military had arrested al-Bashir, who seized power in a coup in 1989, suspended the constitution, shut border crossings and closed the country’s airspace for the next 24 hours.

He declared a three-month state of emergency, putting the country under military rule, and said that the army would oversee a two-year transitional period leading up to elections. Political prisoners would be released, he claimed.

The military coup follows four months of social unrest triggered by a government decision that tripled the price of bread. The spontaneous protests quickly developed into nationwide anti-government demonstrations calling for al-Bashir to step down. The movement drew in ever broader sections of the population with nationwide strikes of workers, including at Port Sudan on the Red Sea, and several work stoppages and protests at major telecom providers and other corporations.

Al-Bashir responded with brutal measures aimed at crushing resistance to the government, including the use of live ammunition by snipers, tear gas and baton charges. At least 60 people have been killed, including children and medics, some of whom died in prison as a result of torture.

Security forces arrested hundreds of demonstrators, with at least 800 sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment. Women were sentenced to floggings. There have been numerous arrests of oppositionists, including leaders of the main opposition Umma Party and the Sudan Communist Party (SCP).

In February, al-Bashir announced a year-long state of emergency, making mass demonstrations illegal, and dismissed his cabinet and all the 18 provincial governments, replacing the governors with military and security officers.

This did little to curb the widespread unrest over unemployment, soaring inflation and controls on accessing foreign currency and cash that have made living conditions intolerable. There is enormous popular hatred of al-Bashir’s regime for its never-ending wars in different parts of the country, brutal repression, corruption and indifference to endemic poverty.

The regime has suppressed all opposition to its policies over the last 30 years and waged war against its own people in South Sudan and Darfur, with armed conflicts still ongoing in South Kordofan and Blue Nile provinces, in what has become known as Sudan’s third civil war.

Al-Bashir announced his resignation from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), appointing his close associate Ahmad Harun as deputy head of the NCP, who called for a “national dialogue.” But this was understood as a manoeuvre to win over some elements of the bourgeois opposition and maintain NCP rule via stage-managed elections in 2020—where Harun or Bashir would run.

The powerful movement of the Sudanese working class is part of a growing movement of strikes and demonstrations by workers across North Africa—in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco—and around the world.

Sudan’s rallies have been led by a coalition that includes the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA) of doctors, lawyers and teachers, the National Consensus Forces (NCF), Sudan Call, the Unionist Gathering and the Umma Party.

Limiting the movement to al-Bashir’s ouster would always serve to give the regime a facelift, as has now been proven. …

Masses of workers and youth have come out onto the streets, not for a military coup or political reshuffle at the top, but rather a fundamental transformation of the entire social order. Since Saturday, the anniversary of the military coup ‎that forced Jaafar Nimeiri to step down in ‎1985 after 16 years in power following massive protests, there have been mass demonstrations outside the military’s headquarters in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. At least 800,000 people took part Saturday, with the number swelling to 2 million the next day, the biggest protest against the government in Sudan’s tumultuous history.

There were reports of some soldiers intervening to protect demonstrators after ‎security forces tried to disperse a mass sit-in outside the defence ministry, with al-Bashir’s gunmen killing at least 20 people.

On Monday, Al-Ahram Online reported after Sunday’s meeting of the National Defence and Security Council, headed by al-Bashir, “It has become clear that the army has picked its side.” The council issued a statement published by the Sudanese official news agency that “the protesters ‎represent a segment of society that must be heard.” ‎It had cooked up a deal for al-Bashir to step aside, with the military intervening “on the side of the people”.

According to Al-Ahram, the army was split over al-Bashir’s replacement, with one faction opposed to Defence Minister Auf because, like al-Bashir, he is wanted by the International ‎Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur when he was head of military intelligence. Al-Bashir’s forces are accused of killing up to 400,000 people. Other military figures tipped for the post are retired Armed Forces Chief of General Staff Lieutenant-General Emad Al-‎Din Mustafa Adawi and Lieutenant-General Kamal Abdul-Marouf, the military’s joint chief of staff. ‎

The coup was clearly green-lighted by the United States and the UK, the former colonial power in Sudan, along with Sudan’s neighbour, the Egyptian dictator General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who made his second visit to the White House earlier this week. El-Sisi’s discussions with President Donald Trump were held against the backdrop of a similar attempt to neuter anti-regime protests in Algeria—with the military announcing the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika—as well as the raging civil war in Libya.

Referring to Libya and Sudan, el-Sisi said, “We cannot afford a leadership emerging in Libya or Sudan that tolerates, or even worse condones, militant Islamic activity. This is why … we are keeping a close eye on any possible transition of power in Sudan.”

On Wednesday, the US, Britain and Norway, who played a key role in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended a 30-year civil war and paved the way for the secession of South Sudan, issued a statement backing a pre-emptive coup. The statement said, “The time has come for the Sudanese authorities to respond to these popular demands in a serious and credible way. The Sudanese people are demanding a transition to a political system that is inclusive and has greater legitimacy.”

While the fall of al-Bashir was greeted with euphoria, the demonstrations have continued. Some protesters mocked the announcement, with one tweeting, “LOL, Awad Ibn Auf probably walked out [after] that speech and went straight to Bashir at his house arrest.”

The Sudanese Professionals Association said, “It’s a coup and we’re not budging” and called for protests to continue until authority is passed on to “a civilian transitional government that represents the revolution’s forces.”

… The only way to establish a democratic regime in Sudan is through a struggle led by the working class to take power and expropriate the ill-gotten wealth of the entire ruling class, in the context of a broad international struggle of the working class against capitalism and for the building of socialism.

AL-BASHIR’S HORRIFIC LEGACY Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president deposed by his own military after mass protests against his 30-year dictatorship, played a central role in some of the worst atrocities of the past century and left a legacy of human suffering. [HuffPost]


Sudanese keep fighting Bashir dictatorship

This 25 July 2018 video says about itself:

Former Sudanese Prime Minister on the CIA, Omar al-Bashir and War Crimes in Yemen

We speak to the former Prime Minister of Sudan Sadiq al-Mahdi, who is now the opposition leader and the chair of Sudan Call, about the historic signing of a peace deal between Sudan and South Sudan.

By Jean Shaoul:

Protests against Sudan’s al-Bashir regime enter fourth month

30 March 2019

On Monday, Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, saw journalists protesting to demand press freedom.

Since a wave of opposition demonstrations began on December 19, the government has routinely blocked Internet access and social media networks and censored the media. It has demanded that the newspapers submit their articles for review before printing, seized rolls of newspaper and banned foreign journalists from reporting on the protests.

Some newspapers, including Al-Maidan, Akhbar al-Watan and Al-Baath have been off the streets for more than 70 days since January. According to the Sudanese Journalists’ Network, which organised the protest, some 90 journalists critical of the government have been arrested. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says the number of arrests is unprecedented.

On February 22, the authorities arrested Othman Mirghani, editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper al-Tayar, shortly after he gave a televised interview criticising President Omar al-Bashir’s declaration of a state of emergency. He remains in custody without being charged.

The protests take place amidst the most sustained challenge to al-Bashir’s rule since he seized power in a 1989 coup. Triggered by a government decision that tripled the price of bread, the protests quickly developed into anti-government demonstrations across the country calling for al-Bashir to step down. They have drawn in ever-broader sections of the population, with nationwide strikes of workers on March 5 and 13.

Sit-ins have taken place at universities and schools, and there have been strikes by public and private sector workers, including those at Port Sudan on the Red Sea, the main gateway for Sudan’s imports and exports, who are demanding its sale to a Philippine company based in Dubai be halted. There have also been work stoppages and protests at major telecom providers and other corporations.

Al-Bashir has responded with brutal measures aimed at crushing all resistance, including the use of live ammunition by snipers, tear gas and baton charges. Officials say 31 people have died in protest-related violence since December, but Human Rights Watch has put the death toll at 57, including children and medics, some of whom have died in prison as a result of torture.

There have been numerous arrests including that of Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi, deputy leader of the main opposition Umma Party (and daughter of the prime minister whom al-Bashir ousted in 1989) and 15 others while demonstrating in front of Umma’s headquarters in Omdurman, Sudan’s second largest city.

On February 22, al-Bashir announced a year-long state of emergency—the first in 20 years—and dismissed his cabinet and all 18 provincial governments, replacing the governors with military and security officers. The newly reshuffled government under Mohamed Tahir Eila is the third to be formed in less than two years.

The state of emergency grants the authorities unprecedented powers to ban protests, public meetings and political activities, and gives the police and security forces more power to arbitrarily detain people indefinitely, search buildings and seize property. While Sudan’s parliament has approved the decree for six months, not a year, it can be extended at any time.

Special emergency courts, set up to prosecute people for taking part in demonstrations, imposed harsh sentences against more than 800 protesters—some given jail terms of up to five years as well as fines—in the space of a week. Three weeks ago, the courts sentenced nine women protesters to 20 lashes each—since overturned—one day after al-Bashir issued a presidential decree ordering the release of 150 women protesters from prison to mark International Women’s Day.

On March 27, an emergency court in Omdurman sentenced three protesters, including two female university students, to six months in prison for taking part in an anti-government rally in the city.

None of this repression has deterred the demonstrations and strikes. Rallies have taken place over unemployment, soaring inflation, and controls on accessing foreign currency and cash that are making living conditions intolerable. Above all, they are aimed at al-Bashir’s regime.

The government insists that the problems are economic and stem from 20 years of US sanctions and the secession in 2011 of oil-rich South Sudan. It is desperately seeking loans from Abu Dhabi, other international investment, an end to black-market foreign exchange transactions and a deal with South Sudan that will restart the latter’s oil production and its transit to overseas markets through Sudan.

To dampen down opposition, al-Bashir has resigned as head of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), appointing his close associate Ahmad Harun as its deputy head. Harun has announced a national dialogue in a bid to win over some elements of the opposition and maintain NCP rule via stage-managed elections in which Harun or Bashir would run and thereby forestall any attempt by sections of the armed forces, in the name of “the people”, to oust them.

The powerful movement of the Sudanese working class is part of a growing wave of strikes and demonstrations by workers across North Africa, including in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, as well as around the world.

Sudan’s opposition rallies have been led by an umbrella group, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, that includes the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA), the National Consensus Forces (NCF), Sudan Call, the Unionist Gathering and the Umma Party, with the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) playing a crucial role.

According to the secretary of the SCP’s information bureau, Dr Fathi Elfad, who is one of at least 40 senior party leaders who have been arrested, the SCP has sought to “build the broadest possible alliance of political parties, armed groups, mass democratic organisations, professional unions, workers’ and peasants’ movements, as well as students’ and women’s unions.”

They are all demanding constitutional change and for al-Bashir to go. …

At least 80 percent of the Sudanese population live on less than US$1 per day. Some 5.5 million of the country’s 40 million population needed humanitarian assistance in 2018, an increase of 700,000 on 2017. Around 2.47 million children suffer from acute malnutrition.

In 2018, there were an estimated 1.2 million refugees and asylum seekers living in Sudan, including nearly 500,000 South Sudanese refugees who fled the civil war that erupted in 2013, as well as nearly 2 million internally displaced persons following Sudan’s decades of internal conflicts and droughts.

The critical question is the development of an independent political strategy and the formation of a new revolutionary leadership. It means forming popular organs of power, based on the working class, to fight to overthrow and replace the al-Bashir regime with a workers’ government.

ARMY FORCED OMAR AL-BASHIR TO STEP DOWN Tens of thousands of Sudanese were making their way to the center of the country’s capital on Thursday, cheering and clapping in celebration as two senior officials said the military had forced longtime autocratic President Omar al-Bashir to step down after 30 years in power. [AP]

Bahrain dictatorship supports Sudan dictatorship

This tweet, by Bahraini pro-democracy activist Ebrahim Sharif, shows how the Bahraini royal dictatorship censors criticism of the Sudanese ‘republican’ military dictatorship; like it also censors criticism of the Saudi regimeBahraini regimeSudanese regime‘s war on the people of Yemen.