Thousands took to the streets of Sudan to protest against the military regime

Thousands of Sudanese protesters gathered in the capital on Sunday to demand an end to military rule and tribal clashes that have killed more than 100 people, according to AFP correspondents.

“Down with Burhan,” they chanted, referring to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the army commander who led a military coup last year that thwarted the transition to civilian rule after President Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in 2019.

Protests have been held almost every week since then, despite a brutal crackdown that has killed at least 116 people, according to pro-democracy medics.

“Power belongs to the people,” protesters chanted, demanding that the soldiers return to their barracks.

Since last year’s coup, Sudan – already one of the world’s poorest countries – has been plagued by a deepening economic crisis and widespread security breaches that have led to a surge in inter-ethnic clashes in its outlying regions.

On July 11, tribal clashes erupted in the southern state of Blue Nile over a land dispute that left at least 105 people dead and 291 injured, sparking justice protests and calls for coexistence.

Protester Mohamed Ali told AFP on Sunday that he was demonstrating for a “one nation”.

According to Ali, the military council “turns a blind eye” to tribal violence “because these issues allow him to stay in power.”

Pro-democracy activists have long accused the Sudanese military and former rebel leaders who signed the 2020 peace deal of escalating ethnic tensions for political gain.

The strength of the pro-democracy movement has waned and waned since the coup, the latest shocked by a surprise announcement on 4 July when Burhan promised in a televised address to step aside and allow Sudanese factions to negotiate a civilian government.

Key civilian leaders dismissed his move as a “gimmick” and pro-democracy protesters held firm to their rallying cry that there could be “no negotiations, no partnership” with the military.

Other civic groups were more willing to negotiate, seeing them as a necessary stepping stone to democratic rule.