Since June 16, protests have shaken Khartoum and other areas in Sudan. The immediate trigger for the protests was the government’s announcement of new austerity measures. These measures aim to plug a budgetary deficit that largely stems from Sudan’s loss of South Sudan and its oil. As protests have continued, they have tapped into longer-term grievances against the regime of President Omar al Bashir and his National Congress Party (NCP). Bashir has been in power since 1989, most recently winning re-election in 2010. Some commentators and activists view the protests as the “beginning of the end” for Bashir; others have pointed out that earlier protest movements failed to take root, suggesting that this one, too, will falter. I am more in the latter camp for now, but the longer the protests continue the more of a danger they become to Bashir, who must now keep an eye not only on the streets but also on other factions of the Sudanese elite.
On Twitter, you can keep up to date on the protests by following the hashtag #SudanRevolts, as well as users Moez Ali, Amir Ahmad Nasr, James Copnall, Bec Hamilton, Martin Plaut, Alun McDonald, Mimz, Daniel Solomon, and many others.
Below is a roundup of sources relevant to the protests. Another recent roundup by the blog “Redefining the Narrative” is here, and All Africa is collecting articles on the protests here.
- Human Rights Watch: “Sudan should end the crackdown on peaceful protesters, release people who have been detained, and allow journalists to report freely on the events.”
- US State Department: “The United States condemns the numerous arrests and detentions that have been taking place over the past week in Sudan in response to peaceful demonstrations. There have been reports of protestors being beaten, imprisoned, and severely mistreated while in government custody. We call for the immediate release of those detained for peaceful protest.”
- UK Foreign Office: “These demonstrations underline once again the importance of the Government of Sudan embarking on a process of reform that addresses the needs and aspirations of all Sudanese citizens within an open and democratic framework.”
Statements by Sudanese government officials:
- Al Jazeera: “Bashir Says Sudan Protests Are No Arab Spring”
- Reuters: “Sudan Says No Retreat on Cuts Despite Protests”
- Sudan Tribune: “Bashir Sacks Aides as Regional Governments Resign Except South Darfur”
- Radio Dabanga: “Dormitories of Protesting Students Set Ablaze by Sudan Security Agents”
- AFP: “Bloomberg Reporter Deported from Sudan”
- Sudan Tribune: “Opposition Party Rejects Ban on Political Meetings”
- CNN: “Police Crackdown on Growing Protests”
- Carol Jean Gallo: “Why Sudanese Are Protesting in the Streets”
- Amir Ahmad Nasir: “Sudan Needs a Revolution”
- Moez Ali: “A New Sudan in the Making”
- Al Jazeera: “Has Springtime Finally Arrived in Sudan?”
- Global Voices: “Unshackling the Sudanese Revolution”
What is your view of the protests? Do you think Bashir will fall?
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As things are, no. However I won’t discard the possibility of some popular uprising encouraging the military to push him out and try to follow Egypt’s model. Of course in that case (or many other possible outcomes) we shouldn’t expect something very helpful for the U.S.
I definitely think a military coup against Bashir is possible.
I hate trying to figure out the numbers but this site has a list from January of the top forty states most likely to have a coup with Sudan at number 11. Mali was number 10 and Guinea-Bissau was number 2.
Since I really hate trying to figure out the numbers my reasoning is that Sudan just completely lost South Sudan which fills the separatist element of coups, Sudan may have experienced some humiliation in its not-war with South Sudan that’s been raging across the border (Bashir might have been forced to order bombings just to survive) which may or may not increase the anger of military officers, Sudan has a history of coups in the past (ironically how Bashir came to power) and the result of the not-war has led Sudan into financial hell which has greatly weakened Bashir’s ability to pay off potential enemies and probably greatly weakened his legitimacy of raising Sudan’s status through authoritarian rule. As a result another major problem like a renewed Darfur conflict or a child getting shot by police and seen across the world could destroy support and lead the military to decide that their best chance at surviving the major problems in Sudan would be to remove him with support from civilian leaders and protesters.
Are there any decent studies of the conditions in Sudan in the 1980s that led to the coup and who supported it at the time (yes, I know there was a war raging across the country)? That would tell a good deal about Bashir’s chances, especially the amount of real support his the National Congress Party (his political party) can provide. Personally I think it might be useless since it was created nine years after the coup, suggesting that he had little use for it until well after he had established himself.
Sorry, forgot to add link. http://dartthrowingchimp.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/assessing-coup-risk-in-2012/
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