Since December, there have been massive protests in the streets of Khartoum, Sudan due to the poor economy, oppressive regime, and the government increasing the price of food. President Omar al-Bashir has been in power since 1989 when he conducted a military coup.
During his rule, Sudan has been under his dictatorship. He is currently accused of committing crimes against humanity, including genocide in the Darfur region. The country has also faced civil war which has created a new state: South Sudan. The citizens are exhausted with famine, war, and genocide.
They protest to have free and fair elections. In early April, al-Bashir finally stepped down and just hours later the military made a public broadcast stating that General Awad Ibn Auf ousted Bashir and the military will have a two year transition of government.
The cheers and joy in the streets immediately turned to anger. The people did not want a transitional military government, they want a civilian run government now.
They realize that this military coup will not last only two years because Sudan as well as other African and Middle Eastern countries have seen that military coups tend to last for decades.
The citizens feel that nothing will change under the Auf regime and they are not ready to give up their fight against autocracy. The leaders of the protest movements in Khartoum and throughout Sudan have urged the people to continue their fight and to keep protesting because they say that they do not want to have a reproduction of the old regime.
Thousands of people have rallied together in the streets against this new regime.
The new military regime has enacted martial law. There is now a curfew for citizens, the constitution has been suspended, a three month state of emergency is in place, and the border is closed until further notice.
It is understandable that the new regime would want to put these in place to limit uprisings and riots by the people.
Since the Arab Spring almost a decade ago, the Middle East has struggled with creating democratic regimes that protect human rights. The Arab Spring gave false hope to many Middle Eastern countries because the world saw change happening, and yet nothing changed in the governmental system between the elites and the everyday people.
Sudan is not an exception to this rule due to the events that unfolded recently because months of mass protest have led to change of regime but not a change of the system: military dictatorship. It is important to note that the people of Sudan are resilient and will continue to fight for freedom, liberty, and justice.
It just might take more time. There is hope for democracy and the people are fighting the good fight to do so. One day it will change.
Nick Webb is the Research Fellow at Rise to Peace.
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