Civilians refuse to cooperate with the Sudanese army

Sudan’s main civilian bloc on Tuesday rejected a proposal by coup leader General Abdelfattah al-Burhane to make way for a civilian government, denouncing a “tactical retreat” designed to maintain the army’s influence in the country.

The Forces for Freedom and Change (FLC), the backbone of the civilian government ousted in the putsch led by the army chief on 25 October 2021, called for “continued mobilization” against the military rule on the sixth day of anti-putsch sit-ins in the capital and its suburbs.

During the “revolution” that overthrew another military leader, the dictator Omar al-Bashir, in 2019, the demonstrators had maintained their sit-ins for eight months. They then got the army to share power with civilians from the FLC to lead the country to its first democratic elections.

General Burhane’s putsch brutally changed the situation in October. His announcement to give way to a civilian government – in effect a return to the status quo before his coup – did not convince the street, which set up new barricades just after his speech on Monday evening.

The civilian bloc denounced “a betrayal” and a way for the army – in control of Sudan almost without interruption since independence in 1956 – to keep the upper hand on politics and the economy.

General Burhane announced that a Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would sit alongside the civilian government, whose prerogatives he did not define.