A Sudanese Spring? Protesters dream of peaceful transition to democracy

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In Sudan, a military coup finally put an end to 29 years of dictatorship under Omar al-Bashir. Following the unprecedented popular uprising of December 2018, the army began to protect protesters from security services loyal to Bashir, before eventually announcing his arrest on April 11. Since April 6, the population has taken to the streets of the capital Khartoum every nightsetting up tents in scenes reminiscent of the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. At first, they called for the end of Bashir's dictatorial regime. But now, they are demanding the departure of the military officials leading the transitional council.

Although the revolt broke out in provincial towns, Khartoum has now become the epicentre of the peaceful uprising. The capital city is home to protesters from all over Sudan. They take turns to join the sit-in in front of the army headquarters. The military has promised an election in four years’ time – a delay considered too long by the population, which is demanding an immediate democratic transition.

Ready to fight to the end

In this report, filmed at the heart of the uprising, we followed the daily life of an activist from the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), one of the organisations leading the protest movement. Anas Ibrahim is a baker and his profession is key to the uprising, since it was the tripling of bread prices that sparked the revolt back in December. We also met student activist Amjad Fouad Nimr, as well as surgeon Salma Elhussein Elkhazin, who had to treat those wounded in the crackdown on protesters.

Although talks with the ruling military council are currently stalled, the people of Sudan have radically changed their way of life, organising their daily routines around the demonstrations. After waiting almost 30 years for the fall of the dictator Bashir – now languishing behind bars – many say they are ready to fight to the end to obtain true democracy.

 

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