Military coup in Sudan: the end of the “Arabellion”

Status: 25.10.2021 6:33 p.m.

Nowhere has the democracy movement in the Near and Middle East been more successful than in Sudan. Now the last hope of the “Arabellion” has been shattered – apparently because the old elite cannot let go of power.

By Martin Durm, ARD Studio Beirut

It is the usual suspects who have been arrested – and the usual phrases with which putschist generals try to justify their actions: “In the name of God and in the name of the fatherland,” said General Abdel Fatah al-Burhan in a televised address. “I greet you and the youth who fought for freedom and peace in the December revolution.”

In the previous transitional government there were conflicts that threatened the security of the country, so action had to be taken, said al-Burhan. The armed forces assured, however, that they intend to continue to carry out the democratic transition until the leadership of the country can be handed over to a civilian government.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan justified the coup: There had been conflicts in the previous transitional government.

Bild: picture alliance/dpa/Sudan TV

Protesters want to fight back

The demonstrators in the streets of the capital Khartoum who have been protesting against the uniformed coup plotters since this morning will not do it for him.

“We call on the people to take to the streets. Nobody should work today,” said a spokesman for the demonstrators. “We must counter the coup with civil disobedience. Al-Burhan destroyed the transition to democracy and arrested the civilian members of the transitional government.” We must defend ourselves against this. “

Video recordings show that thousands are protesting against the coup in Khartoum, young men set car tires on fire, and black smoke hangs over the streets. The demonstrators are faced with heavily armed military, tanks and paramilitary units. Shots were fired, allegedly a dozen people have been injured so far.

The Arabellion’s last great hope is shattered

What is being crushed here by a military coup is the last great hope of the democracy movements in the Middle East of the Arab world. It was called “Arabellion 2.0” in 2019 when hundreds of thousands of young people took to the streets in Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria and Sudan for freedom and democracy.

Nowhere was this movement as successful, colorful and creative as in Sudan. Aala Salah, a young woman from Khartoum, became an icon of the revolution at that time, her rapped protest against dictator Umar al-Bashir and his military henchmen was heard worldwide.

Democracy movement was warned

When al-Bashir fell, the generals wanted to set up a kind of Supreme Military Council to – as it was said – bring the country into orderly democracy. But the protest movement, supported by union representatives and women’s associations, was warned: In Egypt, the Tahrir revolution failed because the generals did not want to give up power in the end. The country is now a military dictatorship.

With this chilling development in mind, the Sudanese insisted on a transitional government: five military personnel, six civilians – that is, shared power that should lead to free elections and a purely civilian government in 2023.

The Sudanese suffer from hyperinflation and unemployment, but a lot has improved since the revolution: the media are free, Islam is no longer the state religion, and genital mutilation is punished as a crime.

The old elite fear for their privileges

But the old elite, socialized under the dictatorship, are evidently worried about benefices and privileges. Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has been under house arrest this morning and almost all civilian members of the government have been arrested.

“The prime minister is hostage to the military,” said Sudanese journalist Orwa al-Sadek. “This coup is a crime. We want the world to know what is being done to us and that we will not accept it.”

Putsch in Sudan – one hope is shattered

Martin Durm, SWR, 25.10.2021 · 17:43 Uhr

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