Pro-democracy demonstrations are expected across Sudan today following calls from the political coalition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC).
In October, a military-led coup ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and halted Sudan’s ongoing democratic transition. The military then restricted internet access and violently suppressed the resulting pro-democracy protests, with the UN Human Rights Office confirming reports of rape and murder by security forces. In response, the World Bank, US, and other actors froze over $2 billion in aid.
In 2019, the military deposed Sudan’s longtime dictator President Omar al-Bashir and initiated a transitional government, with the FFC eventually negotiating Hamdok’s premiership. Although a November 21 agreement saw Hamdok return as prime minister within a transitional government, the military will ultimately decide whether Sudan continues on a democratic path.
Expect the military to suppress today’s protests, likely utilizing excessive force. As blood has already been shed and foreign aid frozen, Sudan has limited incentive to employ peaceful tactics. State violence, moreover, is unlikely to draw serious rebukes from Sudan’s authoritarian neighbors or Gulf allies. While Western nations may call for targeted sanctions on military leaders, they are unlikely to call for nationwide sanctions for fear of exacerbating Sudan’s ongoing economic crisis.
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Jon is a Content Editor and Analyst within the Analysis division of Foreign Brief.