Sudan Protesters Rally Against Arab Interference

 

April 27, 2019

 


Sudanese protesters wave national flags as they chant slogans during a sit-in outside the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, April 26, 2019.

 


By Naba Mohiedeen

 

KHARTOUM – For the past two weeks, protesters in Sudan have demanded the military hand over power to civilians, and talks appear to be making some progress. Meanwhile, demonstrators are directing their anger at a new target – Arab governments, for what they say is interference in Sudan’s internal affairs.

Protesters gathered outside the Egyptian Embassy in Khartoum Thursday, calling for an end to interference by Arab governments.

Sudanese activists ramped up social media campaigns Friday, calling for more protesters to rally outside embassies and consulates.

Demonstrations also continued outside army headquarters, where protesters like Bushra Ahmed raised signs against intervention by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

This revolution is a fully Sudanese revolution, said Ahmed. We don’t need any guardian telling us what to do and what not to. We know our country and are able to lead it ourselves, he added.

Such sentiments have been brewing among protesters since a joint Saudi-Emirate delegation visited Sudan on April 16.

The visit raised eyebrows as it came just days after the military ousted president Omar al-Bashir from three decades in power.

The delegation announced $3 billion in aid, which was welcomed by the military but rejected by protesters suspicious of their past support for Bashir and other Islamist and authoritarian leaders.

At Friday prayers in Khartoum, religious leaders told crowds of protesters outside army headquarters to refuse intervention from foreign countries.

Protesters have camped outside the headquarters since April 6, originally to call for Bashir’s removal, and now for an end to military rule.

At a tent near the sit-in, soldier-turned-protester Mohamed Musa and other veterans warned about Gulf countries.

He said they totally refuse Gulf intervention and Saudi-Emirates intervention in Sudan and in the Transitional Military Council’s affairs. They have their own interests in mind, not Sudan’s, when it comes to Sudan’s troops deployed to the war in Yemen, he added.

Hundreds of Sudanese soldiers have died in Yemen, as the Bashir government supported Sudan’s Arab allies in the war there.

Political analyst Alfatih Mahmoud says Bashir’s removal has raised concerns among Gulf states that Turkey and Qatar could gain new influence in Sudan.

Bashir’s regime was dealing with the two camps, but now Sudan has to belong to one camp, he said. So, Saudi, the Emirates and Egypt have tried to attract the new Sudan, especially with the existence of former agreements and the removal of Islamists from the scene, he added.

Sudan’s protests erupted in December over bread and fuel shortages and soon morphed into calls for Bashir to step down.

While demonstrations continue, the Transitional Military Council is negotiating with protest leaders on handing power to a civilian council before the end of a self-declared two-year mandate.

Published: April 26, 2019

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