Sudan protest leaders reject Saudi, UAE intervention in 'orphan' revolution

Sudan protest leaders reject Saudi, UAE intervention in 'orphan' revolution
4 min read
30 May, 2019
Sudan's protest leaders also called for 'full-scale civil disobedience' if military leaders continue to reject calls for a civilian-led government.
Protester leaders have rejected calls for an early election [AFP]
Sudan's leading protest organisers on Wednesday rejected "foreign intervention" in the revolution and called for a campaign of "civil disobedience" if the country's military rulers continued to refuse to relinquish power.

Regional allies Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt came forward as early enthusiastic supporters of the military junta when it seized power from former President Omar al-Bashir last month.

The increasingly flourishing relationship between those nations and Sudan's generals has left protesters and analysts worried over the potential of foreign intervention in Sudan's revolution.

"The revolution has since its beginning last December been an orphan," Babaker Faisal, a leader in civilian negotiating body and leading opposition organisation the Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC), said on Wednesday.

"It has remained a purely Sudanese revolution. No support has been found for it among the countries of the region or in the international community, and so it will remain Sudanese until its goals are realised," Faisal said, commenting on recent visits to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt by the country's military rulers.

Military council leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan last week met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo and the UAE's de-facto ruler Mohammed bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi.

Burhan's deputy Mohammad Hamdan Daglo, widely known by his nickname Hemedti, also met with Saudi de-facto ruler and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"We do not know the details of Burhan and Daglo's visits to these countries, but if the purpose of those visits was to join those countries in the politic bloc which was embroiled in Bashir's regime, then that would be rejected," Faisal stated.

It is not the first time Sudanese protesters have decried Saudi, Emirati and Egyptian intervention.

Demonstrators have repeatedly accused the three allied nations of attempting to steer the country's uprising in the same direction as Egypt's revolution - that is, securing the long-term rule of the military rather than handing over power to civilians.

Military and protesters face off in general strike

Protesters on Wednesday concluded a two-day general strike which saw planes grounded, newspapers unpublished and businesses and public institutions across the country shuttered.

But the strike, aimed at pressuring the military junta into complying with protesters' demands for civilian rule, also witnessed violence, with a pregnant woman shot dead by "stray bullets" in clashes between members of the military on Wednesday.

Military and paramilitary forces also stormed the country's central bank and an electricity company on Tuesday, allegedly forcing staff at a Khartoum electricity company to work at gunpoint.

Soldiers stormed Bank of Sudan branch in the capital, attempting to force employees to work. When they didn't comply, workers were allegedly beaten and detained by soldiers who forcibly confiscated cash boxes from the branch, independent Sudanese outlet Radio Dabanga reported.

By the end of the general strike, the AFC was yet to receive any communication from the military towards jump starting negotiations, Faisal said, indicating that a "schedule for revolutionary disobedience" would be released soon.

However, Faisal said that he hoped the AFC would not be "forced" to call for "full-scale civil disobedience".

The protest leaders have also rejected the military's suggestion of early elections despite having previously agreed upon a transition period of three years.

If elections were to go forward at the current time, Faisal said, it would mean the "reproduction of the old regime" and the "abortion of the revolution".

"The AFC will call for a new million-man march in the very near future and will organise an Eid prayer at the sit-in," he added.

Thousands of protesters continue to gather at a mass sit-in outside the army general command which began on 6 April.

"It will be the largest prayer in the history of Sudan," Faisal claimed.

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