KHARTOUM, Sudan (dpa) – Sudan’s security forces dispersed demonstrators in the capital Khartoum on Sunday and arrested more than 100 people in order to crack down on pro-democratic demonstrators after the military coup last month.
The Sudanese military took power on October 25, dissolved the interim government and arrested dozens of officials and politicians. The coup has sparked international criticism and massive protests in the streets of Khartoum and elsewhere in the country.
The takeover has turned the country’s fragile planned transition to democratic rule on its head, more than two years after a popular uprising forced the ousting of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government.
According to the Sudanese professional association that led the uprising against al-Bashir, teachers and education workers protested the coup outside the Ministry of Education in Khartoum’s Bahri district.
Security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters and arrested at least 113 people, mostly teachers, lawyer Moez Hadra said. There have been sporadic protests elsewhere in Khartoum, he said.
For the first time since the coup, local authorities announced that schooling would be resumed in the capital.
Sunday was the first of two days of nationwide strikes called by the SPA, which vowed to continue protesting until a full civilian government is formed to lead the transition. Several stores and businesses have opened in Khartoum, according to a video journalist from The Associated Press.
The crackdown also came after mediation efforts between military and civilian leaders failed, according to a military official who is aware of the ongoing efforts.
Mediators, including the United Nations Envoy to Sudan, were still working to soften the stance on both sides as both still adhere to their preconditions before engaging in “meaningful, possibly direct, conversations,” the official said on condition that that anonymity because he was not authorized to inform the media.
The deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who is still under house arrest at his residence in Khartoum, insists on the release of government officials and politicians detained in connection with the coup. He also wanted “guarantees” that the military would revert to pre-coup power-sharing arrangements, the official said.
On the other hand, the military insists that the October 25 events were not a “coup” and that they intervened to correct the “course” of the transition period, the official said.
The military has given mixed signals. It allowed four ministers to return to their homes under house arrest, said lawyer Hadra. The four included Hamza Baloul, Minister for Information and Culture, Hashim Hasabel-Rasoul, Minister for Communication, Ali Gedou, Minister for Trade and International Cooperation, and Youssef Adam, Minister for Youth and Sport. You were among more than 100 government officials and politicians arrested after the coup.
The military also arrested three leaders of the Forces for Freedom and Change, a coalition that emerged from the 2019 protest movement, shortly after meeting with UN officials in Khartoum. The meeting was part of a UN-led mediation effort.
Magdy answered from Cairo.