Sudan Uprising: April 2019

  • Posted on: 11 April 2019

On Thursday morning April 11th, conflicting reports had surfaced, some claiming that there has been a military coup in Sudan forcing the Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir to step down, and other stated that the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir willingly stepped down, following months of anti-government protests. According to reports, celebrations are already under way in Sudan as protesters have taken to the streets, waiting for the official announcement to be made.

Protests and demonstrations across Sudan were first reported in December 2018 against the severe economic crisis caused in part by years of U.S sanctions and partly by the loss of oil revenues since South Sudan’s independence in 2011. Protests then turned against President Omar Al-Bashir. President Omar al-Bashir came in power in a military coup in 1989, and now also faces charges for crimes against humanity and genocide from the International Criminal Court. 

Protesters and the opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) have called on the country's military leadership to abandon President Omar Al-Bashir since protests were first reported, back in December 2018. In addition to that, on Monday April 8th 2019, Sudan’s military ordered its forces to avoid intervening against protesters and to protect them after Sudanese Intelligence and Security Forces and riot police attempted to break up a sit-in of thousands of anti-government demonstrators outside the Defense Ministry in Khartoum by firing tear-gas canisters, rubber bullets and live ammunition targeting the protesters.

According to reports, since Saturday April 6th, thousands of protesters marched to the Sudanese military headquarters in Khartoum to deliver a memorandum urging the army to side with them, and other protesters also gathered outside the president’s residence for 5 consecutive days, calling for President Omar al-Bashir to step down. According to reports, protesters chose Saturday April 6th for their march to coincide with the April 6 anniversary of a 1985 military coup that overthrew former Sundan’s President Jaafar Nimeiri.

Attempts by Sudanese Intelligence and Security Forces to break up the demonstrations since April 6th have resulted in the death of at least 22 including six soldiers, who were reportedly defending the protesters, and injured more than 150. Following the march, according to reports, Sudan also experienced a complete power outage on Sunday April 7th, just hours after a social media block took effect across the country as well.

According to reports, 2,600 people were arrested and 70 have died in protest-related violence since demonstrations were first reported back in December 2018. 

Following April 11th events, several possible scenarios in regards to the coming period plans were presented by a number of reports. Some reports predict that the Sudanese military will take over Sudan, while other reports stated that the Sudanese army already announced the formation of a transitional council led by the vice president of Sudan Awad Ibn Ouf, who was appointed by Omar Al-Bashir back in February 2019.  In addition to that, several other reports had previously stated that the Sudanese Professionals' Association (SPA), which has led the protests since December 2018, announced its intention to start a dialogue with the military about the transition,, fearing that the country might descend into violence.