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 worker 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.
Resisting the Military
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 mobilizing 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 mobilize 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 organizations who are active building the revolution in the cities and the countryside.”
International Solidarity Protests Against Sudan Coup Set for 30 October
Sudanese activists abroad are mobilizing for a day of action on Saturday 30 October to show their solidarity with mass marches in Sudan defying the military seizure of power on 25 October. Sudanese protesters have been rallying outside the embassy in London every day since Monday, calling for the release of arrested civilian leaders and other political prisoners and for the military hand back power. Activists from across Britain are expected to gather outside 10 Downing Street 1-5pm on Saturday 30 October for a mass protest.
The demonstration will coincide with rallies in Paris, Dublin and other cities internationally, as well as expected mass mobilizations across Sudan after nearly a week of strikes and civil disobedience. Protesters have braved live ammunition and brutal repression to take to the streets, as trade unions and revolutionary networks, such as the neighbourhood based resistance committees have stepped up collective action against the coup.
Leading trade unionists in Britain have joined the calls for solidarity with resistance to the coup. Vicky Blake, President of the UCU trade union which represents 120,000 university and college workers is one of the signatories to an open letter launched by MENA Solidarity in response to the coup. Louise Regan, Simon Murch and Gawain Little from the national executive of the NEU, Britain’s largest teachers’ union have also backed the letter. Gawain, who is chair of the NEU’s international committee told Middle East Solidarity:
“We must unequivocally condemn the military coup in Sudan … there must be no accommodation afforded to this wholly illegitimate military administration by the international community, including the British government.” — Gawain Little, NEU International Committee.
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. sudan-embassy.co.uk/contact or email email@example.com.
- Sign our open letter from trade unionists and activists against the coup in Sudan change.org/NocoupinSudan.
- Pass a resolution in your trade union branch.
- Join a protest called by Sudanese activists – look out for demonstrations organized by the Sudanese community in your town or city – take your trade union banner down to show your support.
This article first published on the MENA Solidarity Network website.
October 29, 2021