Extreme violence against peaceful demonstrators Sudan must stop

June 5, 2019

Dozens of people died and hundreds were injured. Such is the result of the attack that security forces opened on peaceful demonstrators in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

On Sunday night the attacks on the sit-in began. It’s the place where Sudanese citizens have been protesting peacefully for almost three months to get a civilian government. “Europe and the US must now stand squarely behind the citizens of Sudan,” says Jelena Sporin of PAX, who has just returned from Khartoum.

The attack was carried out by the Rapid Response Forces (RSF) with the support of the police. They ‘shot to kill’ at the demonstrators, after which all tents and stages were burned. The number of people killed has risen to 60 and the fear is that there will be many more deaths. The violence against the unarmed and peaceful demonstrators continues unabated, both in the capital Khartoum and in other cities. At the same time, the internet and telecom traffic are almost completely shut down.

Army vs democracy

It is not yet entirely clear why the protesters were attacked all of a sudden. But it is likely that during the weekend an agreement was almost reached between the Transitional Military Council and the demonstrators and that such an agreement was seen as a threat to the interests of those who prefer to continue as before. What is certain is that the RSF is controlled by the second man of the Transitional Military Council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti”. He and the general who are now in control of Sudan have sought and gotten support in the region. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates like to see these two men in power, not least because they guarantee Sudanese troops for the war in Yemen. Egypt and South Sudan also prefer to see military in power, rather than have a democracy in their backyard.

“Elections are unacceptable this way”

“The Tranisitional Military Council is nevertheless acting as if all is fine and announced elections to be held in nine months,” says Jelena Sporin, program leader Sudan at PAX. “Elections under the current circumstances are unacceptable. The people in Sudan will not only boycott them, but also outsiders must realize that in a country where soldiers try to suppress peaceful demonstrations with extreme violence having elections is ludicrous. Conducting elections in the short term is a guarantee that the old regime will continue, only with new faces.”

“Stand behind the Sudanese citizens”

In the meantime, calls have been made for full civil disobedience and peaceful resistance. Given the interests and experience with the ruthless action of the RSF in Darfur, there is a fear that the Transitional Military Council will continue to respond with extreme violence. Sporin: “We all sympathize intensively with those who have lost friends and relatives through this terrible attack. The international community can no longer limit itself by issuing written disapproval of the behavior of the Transitional Military Council and those who support them. Europe and the US must now stand firmly behind the people of Sudan and support them with all possible means in their legitimate call for democratization and a civilian government.”

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