Sudan: from demonstrations to start of transition

On June 3, armed men in military fatigues move in on the protest camp outside army headquarters and disperse thousands of protesters. (Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)

On June 3, armed men in military fatigues move in on the protest camp outside army headquarters and disperse thousands of protesters. (Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)

The swearing-in on Wednesday of the head of a sovereign council to steer Sudan through its transition to civilian rule comes eight months after the start of mass protests.

More than 250 demonstrators were killed in clashes with security forces during the unrest, according to doctors.

A timeline:

Bread prices

Protests erupt on December 19, 2018, against a government decision to triple bread prices.

They quickly spread in the form of weekly demonstrations, morphing into demands that president Omar al-Bashir quit after three decades of iron-fisted rule.

In the capital Khartoum on December 20, demonstrators take to the streets chanting “freedom, peace, justice”.

On April 6, 2019, thousands gather outside army headquarters in Khartoum, pleading for the military’s support against Bashir.

On April 11, military authorities announce they have removed Bashir from power and that a transitional military council will govern for two years.

Defying a month-long curfew, thousands of demonstrators remain camped in front of army headquarters as the protest movement demands power be handed to a civilian government.

Talks between ruling generals and protest leaders end abruptly on May 20 without an accord on the make-up of a joint civilian-military council to govern during a transition.

Thousands of workers strike on May 28 and 29 to pressure the military leaders.

In late May, military council chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan visits Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, countries traditionally wary of popular uprisings.

Bloody crackdown

On June 3, armed men in military fatigues move in on the protest camp outside army headquarters and disperse thousands of protesters.

In the ensuing days-long crackdown, some 127 people are killed, according to doctors close to the demonstrators.

The Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a feared paramilitary group which sprang from the notorious Janjaweed militia accused by rights groups of committing war crimes in Darfur, is blamed for the violence.

Army chiefs announce a probe.

The military scraps all previous agreements with protest leaders for a transition and calls for elections within nine months.

Protesters denounce a putsch.

On June 9, protest leaders launch a nationwide campaign of civil disobedience that paralyses the country for two days.

After both sides signal they are ready to talk again, Ethiopia and African Union mediators in late June present new proposals for a transition.

On June 30, tens of thousands of protesters again rally. Security forces are deployed en masse and police fire tear gas at crowds.
Several people are killed.

Power deal agreed

On July 5, after two days of negotiations, the two sides agree in principle on an accord providing for power-sharing before transition to civilian rule.

On July 29, six demonstrators, including four school students, are shot dead during a rally in the central town of Al-Obeid. Negotiations are suspended, before resuming on August 1.

On August 4, the military and protest leaders sign a declaration, under which a sovereign council comprising six civilians and five military figures will govern for a 39-month transition period.

On August 17, they sign the hard-won “constitutional declaration”.

On August 20, the sovereign council is formed.

On August 21, General Burhan, who will head the council for the first 21 months, is sworn in.

Economist Abdalla Hamdok is due to be confirmed as prime minister Wednesday, before the formation of a government.

© Agence France-Presse

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