Thousands of pro-military protesters gathered in central Khartoum, vowing not to leave until the government is dissolved, threatening Sudan’s transition to civilian rule.
Saturday’s protest comes as Sudanese politics are reeling from factional divisions leading the difficult transition after two decades of dictatorship under President Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted by the military in April 2019 after weeks of mass protests.
Saturday’s protest was organized by a splinter faction of the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), a civil alliance that has spearheaded the anti-Bashir protests and has become a key part of the transition.
“We need a military government, the current government has failed to bring us justice and equality,” said Abboud Ahmed, a 50-year-old protester.
On Saturday evening, protesters pitched tents outside the presidential palace to demand the dismissal of the government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, a former UN economist whose IMF-backed reforms have touched the pockets of many Sudanese.
Government supporters accused the protest of being orchestrated by supporters of the Islamist-dominated Bashir regime and the military.
The demonstrators chanted “an army, a people” and “the army will bring us bread”.
“We are marching in a peaceful demonstration and we want a military government,” said housewife Enaam Mohamed.
Abdelnaby Abdelelah, a protester from the eastern state of Kassala, complained that the government has neglected other states beyond Khartoum.
“We want a government that is aware of what is going on in the east,” he said.
In front of the presidential palace, the demonstrators chanted: “We will stay where we are… we want the dissolution of this government. “
Hamdok warned on Friday that the transition was facing its “worst and most dangerous” crisis.
The dominant FFC faction said: “The current crisis is not about the dissolution of the government or not.
“It is designed by some parties to overthrow revolutionary forces … paving the way for the return of the remnants of the previous regime. “
Support for the transitional government has waned in recent months amid its difficult economic reforms, which have included reduced fuel subsidies and a managed float of the Sudanese pound.
Inflation skyrocketed, reaching 422% in July, before easing slightly in August and September.
Protests have rocked eastern Sudan, where protesters have been blocking trade through the Port Sudan hub since September.
On September 21, the government said it had foiled a coup attempt it blamed on the military and civilians linked to Bashir’s regime.