WHAT IS CURRENTLY HAPPENING IN SUDAN?
Recently, there have been anti-government demonstrations across Sudan. Protests began in the north-eastern city of Atbara on December 19th 2018. Since then, the protests have spread to Khartoum (the capital) and across the country. So far, hundreds of protesters, journalists, activists and opposition leaders have been arrested by security forces and over twenty people have already been killed. In the beginning, the Sudanese people were protesting because the government tripled the price of bread. However, the protests quickly developed into a protest against the government – particularly against the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir.
WHY IS THERE OPPOSITION TO AL-BASHIR’S GOVERNMENT?
Omar al-Bashir is the current president of Sudan. He seized power from an elected government in 1989 without using violent methods. The current protesters are demanding that Bashir steps down, but he has said that he will only leave if he were to be voted out of office.
Omar al-Bashir is familiar with criticism. Resentment towards him has been rising for various reasons. For example, he has been wanted by the ICC (the International Criminal Court) for suspected war crimes and genocide in Darfur since 2005. His opponents also believe he is corrupt since he seized power, though he has won subsequent popular elections, his opponents have said that he has won them unfairly. Furthermore, al-Bashir has been accused of economic mismanagement, which his opponents think is to blame for Sudan’s poverty and the rise of the bread prices.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF SUDAN LOOK LIKE?
Neither the protesters nor al-Bashir have yielded and it is currently uncertain who will back down first. Even though in the eyes of the protesters and many of the Sudanese people al-Bashir has already fallen, his government is still standing. Yet, it is undeniable that this crisis has presented one of the biggest threats to al-Bashir’s long rule. Even the Sudanese Professionals Association has led organised marches and strikes in five cities across the nation. al-Bashir’s opponents hope that, even if they do not successfully defeat his government, they can seriously undermine its legitimacy and power.