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Sudan Protesters March After Attempted Coup, Deal with Rebels

FILE - Sudanese protesters and wave flags during a rally at the Green Square in Khartoum, Sudan, July 18, 2019.
FILE - Sudanese protesters and wave flags during a rally at the Green Square in Khartoum, Sudan, July 18, 2019.

This story was updated on July 25 at 1:03 pm

KHARTOUM — Thousands of supporters of Sudan’s democracy movement marched in Khartoum Thursday to demand that experts, not political parties make up a transitional government agreed to with the Transitional Military Council a week ago. The demonstrations came as the main protest group announced a deal with rebels, who had opposed a power-sharing agreement with the TMC, which said it thwarted another coup attempt overnight and arrested senior military officers.

Senior member in the Sudanese Professional’s Association Mohamed Adil says protesters want the ideals of the revolution that led to former president Omar al-Bashir’s ouster to be upheld.

He says that the demonstration today shows protesters have clear demands due to the declaration of freedom and change agreement. It is against any power-sharing agreement based on political loyalties and regional political interests, says Adil.

The demonstration began as Sudan’s main protest group - the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change - announced an agreement with rebels who had opposed a power-sharing deal with the Transitional Military Council.

The protest group said it had reached a deal to reconcile their differences with rebels, who are part of the movement but distrust the military.

The FDFC said the rebels agreed during meetings in Ethiopia that the transitional government would be responsible for achieving peace.

The deal and street action came a day after the TMC, which ousted Bashir, said it thwarted another coup attempt Wednesday and arrested senior military officers close to the former president.

While some splits in the democracy movement were repaired, protesters like Alaa Yahya worry the military and politicians – not technocrats – will run the government.

Despite the agreement with the armed forces in Addis Ababa, and the announced attempted coup and arrests to gain legitimacy and win the protesters’ side, he says, the street will keep pushing on opposition groups until they fulfill all our demands.

Sudan's military and opposition coalition last week signed a power-sharing deal on a three-year transitional government before elections.

Political analyst Alfatih Mahmoud says both the opposition movement and the military are trying to consolidate power and gain protesters’ trust.

He says today’s protest to pressure the democracy movement, Wednesday’s arrests, the recently-signed agreement with armed forces, and the not-yet-signed constitutional agreement, raise doubts, as every party is trying to win the next awaited constitutional agreement.

The constitutional declaration is expected to define how much power each side will have and address demands for justice over demonstrators killed during months of protest.

Sudan’s protests erupted in December over shortages of bread and fuel, then quickly spiraled into calls for Bashir to step down.

The military removed Bashir after three decades in power and formed a military council to run the country.

After weeks of a protester sit-in around army headquarters, military troops in June used force to clear demonstrators, killing over 100.