Thousands of Sudanese protest against coup in Washington
Thousands of Sudanese protesters marched in front of the White House in Washington on Saturday afternoon in support of a return to civilian government in their country.
On one of the first cold days of the season, around 3,000 Sudanese of all ages from across the US waved Sudanese and American flags and carried signs denouncing the military coup that took place on 25 October.
“We’re protesting that the military took over the country. Actually, they kidnapped the country,” Amgad Sirag, who came from the Midwestern state of Missouri to attend the demonstration, told The New Arab. “The Sudanese people will never be ruled by the military ever, ever again.”
He noted that none of Sudan’s neighbours in Africa and the Middle East are democracies, saying that this could mean that they would not support a democratic transition in Sudan.
This was the second such demonstration since the coup three weeks ago. Dozens of people have been killed or wounded as the army and security forces violently dispersed protests and scores more have been detained.
A nationwide internet cut imposed by the coup authorities has left most Sudanese disconnected from one another and from the world.
“People in Sudan can’t see the marches all over the world. I hope they get access to the internet so they can see we’re supporting them,” Tarik Sanhori, an academic advisor based in Washington, DC, told The New Arab. “Hopefully one day we’ll see the pride of democracy in Sudan.”
Faisal Keer, who works in logistics in Sudan, told The New Arab he hopes that demonstrations around the world in support of democracy in Sudan will get the attention of those who can make a difference.
“Hopefully the struggle, with the help of the free world, will be converted into a real democracy in Sudan,” he said. “We want our voice to be heard in the White House.”
Despite the large turnout, it is unclear if the demonstration will succeed in influencing policy-makers. Besides The New Arab there were no other media in sight, and so far, international media have only given limited coverage to Sudan’s coup, despite the standstill it has created within the country and its regional significance.
One of the protesters, Mohamad Alnoor, an IT consultant based in Sudan, took a nuanced view of developments in his country.
He said he was concerned about a transition that doesn’t take into account all of the steps required and actors involved. He pointed out that today’s democracies took many years to evolve and added that he didn't believe that Sudan’s military leaders will go quietly.
“We need compromises will all of the actors. We need a consensus government where people don’t point fingers, because no one is going to give up his life,” he told The New Arab, adding that as the days pass many regular Sudanese likely just want stability. “We need to accommodate them now so things can move forward.”
“This coup surprised no one. It’s good it happened now. A few years later would have been worse. Now, we can regroup,” he said.