All to the occupations
End the military government
International support for the revolution “Bullets doesn’t kill us, silence does”
By Martin Ralph (ISL- UK)
Many 100,000s of protestors continue occupations at the army headquarters on 22 April and throughout the country. The Sudan Professionals Association said on 21 April, “we will continue with the sit-in and have suspended talks with the military council. We will escalate the revolution on the streets through protest schedules, until our demands are implemented.”
On 21 April, the forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change (DFC) announced that “they are stopping all forms of communication with the Transitional Military Council (TMC)” because it is not giving up power.
The TMC is trying to recreate the old power with a new leadership. On 22 April Saudi Arabia and UAE provided $3 billion dollars to Sudan. That is denounced by the demonstrators and chanted “we don’t want Saudi support”. Sudan’s head of the Interim Military Council, Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, was the head of the country’s ground troops when the government sent soldiers to Yemen as part of a Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis. Next week the TMC goes to Washington, no doubt to try to strangle the revolution.
Workers at Petro-Energy, oil and gas company, are on strike at Balila’s oil field, South Kordufan State. “It is a comprehensive strike and they are demonstrations by workers…the revolution hits strong in the depth of the economic institutions, and their corrupt organisations.
The strike leaders say Petro is one of the largest companies of forced labour, enslavement and trafficking in human beings in the Sudan. It is owned by the security and intelligence apparatus and dominant in the operations to the oil (that also own diamond operations). Petro pays very low wages and it is one of the largest strongholds of corruption.
The revolutionary occupation – organises and asserts
On 6 April some 100s marched on the army HWQ in Khartoum. As the demonstrators arrived the army let them pass to the military HQ area.
The chances of success “were almost zero” because the repressive forces are numerous and strong. The police, the NISS (National Intelligence and Security Service), the NCP party with its own militia, the Rapid Support Force (that came from the Janjaweed, a militia force that carried out genocide in Darfur). The RSF are administered by the NISS, although during military operations they are commanded by the Sudanese Armed Forces.
7 April, some 1000s joined as they saw the military did not attack the first demonstrators
8 April, some 10,000s arrived as people started to arrive from outside Khartoum
9 April, Omar al-Bashir was forced to out of office by the military. The day the military council took control, Russia recognised it as a legitimate government followed by UAE and Saudi Arabia.
By 12 April many 100,000s arrived.
15 April, The African Union does not accept the military government.
The occupation organised itself from the beginning
On 9 April an anonymous women activist using audio media said,
“First of all, today was very well organised
The protesters were divided into committees. There is now an inspection committee for instance. It starts in front of the door. Every 10 metres there is an inspection. They search the people, their bags, anything they have with them. Men are searched by men, women by women.
Traffic is organised as well. Cars can come in from one way, people on foot from another. Cars or vans with goods for the protesters, food or medicines or water, etc. are searched as well.
The inspectors also provide you with slogans. Any slogan has to be related to our revolt; other calls are not wanted.
You go further and you are again searched. And again, they give you examples of slogans.
The protesters have become more aware. On the first days, there was water yes, but things were not particularly organised. Now they are chanting “Water is for drinking, not to be spilled.”
You proceed, and they tell you: The chants today are for the army.
And then there are medical clinics. There are many of them, with a lot of medicines provided. Really lots of medicines. You cannot imagine, many doctors arrive and donate medicines. Can you imagine, famous doctors, both men and women, donate medicines. And they ask the protesters: What do you need? What can we bring you?
Anything needed is donated by supporting people.
When you proceed further, you find the place well organised. Here you can get water, there you get food. The organisers are wearing special sweaters, so you know they belong to the organisation.
What else? Today they brought us pizza and cakes. And a truck came in filled with fruit. Apples, bananas, oranges, can you imagine? We in our house never see apples. We’d better stay here and eat revolutionary pizza and cake.
What else? The people that are still arriving are serious protesters. They have a clear purpose, not like others who just sit down and joke and laugh. They are not afraid of bullets and batons. The ones afraid do not come.
About the army. Well, soldiers are patrolling outside, near the airport. And inside the square they are guarding us as well. They are standing with us. They are supporting us a lot! They brought us electricity, and other requirements. They set up large sunshades. They really did a lot for us. They are patrolling every hour with in their army vehicles with Dushkas [heavy machine gun] mounted on top. They enter the crowd with their vehicles, and the protesters cheer. You feel that the army is with the protesters. They are also chanting ‘Just fall, that’s all.’”
April 19: Over the last two days, protestors in support of the occupations in Khartoum and various cities in Sudan called for justice and the handover of power by the Interim Military Council “to guard and protect the gains of the revolution” and to hand power to a civilian government as stated in the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a broad coalition of opposition parties and the major force behind the Sudan uprising.
The occupation continues to swell and witness an outpouring of community mutual help and cohesion, coupled with creativity from artists, who are turning the walls and streets around the sit-in into a living art exhibition honouring the history of revolutionaries in Sudan.
Everyone has a task, and everyone works – at something: health services are free, toilets were installed with free labour by engineers and plumbers, free transport, free education, food is free for those with no money. Money is shared, cooking is communal. Some are musicians.
But the TMC “said it was unacceptable that some young people are acting as police and security services, in violation of the law. This refers to reports that people have been searching demonstrators as they join the sit-in. “We request the honourable citizens to help clear these negative features that impact the lives of citizens and the security of the country,” and they added that roads and access ways for public transportation must “be opened immediately’.”
However, many officers and non-commissioned officers of the Sudanese army are seen mingling with the protesters and carried shoulder-high, indicating growing support among army personnel for the popular uprising.
New marches continue across the country, “El Obeid in North Kordofan, El Fasher, El Geneina, Nyala and Ed Daein in Darfur, Singa, Ed Damazin, El Gedaref, Port Sudan in eastern Sudan, and El Gezira state witnessed marches by all segments of society to sit-ins in front of army units to demand the handing of power to the people, the arrest of all the symbols of the former regime who were involved in corruption, the dismantling of all the joints of the ‘deep state’, and bringing those accused of crimes to justice.” Radio debanga
Not all visitors are welcome: an articulated lorry load of aid arrived from Dubai. The occupation rejected it and it was not opened, they asked the driver to return to Dubai, “aid is not wanted from our enemies”.
20 April: the BBC interviewed people of the occupation outside the military HQ. The occupiers said the military announce new concessions every day, but they are distrustful and don’t believe the words of the high command. The military rescinded the imposition for a curfew – that was never observed, they also said all political prisoners would be released. Some were but some others are still in detention.
The ones who were released were classified as class B according to NISS documents. Class A prisoners are still in detentions. The NISS classification was found in documents by protesters when they occupied one of NISS offices.
The demonstrators demand the closure of all torture centres that were used by the old dictatorship. They demand Sudanese troops return from the Yemen, but so far, the military council said they will remain in the Yemen. The conflict is increasing.
They now say we are staying until Ramadan ends, that is over six weeks away. Some say, “Inside the occupation people are practising socialism”
The masses assert their demands against some parties
After the military council took power and removed Omar Al-Bashir, the top leaders of the Sudanese Congress Party and Umma Party had talks with the military council. When they were completed, without explaining to the occupations what had happened they announced that the revolution had achieved its goals and everyone should go home. Many started to leave. But some recognised this as a trick and the UPF, a Darfur students organisation and supporters of the Sudanese Liberation Army returned quickly. In fact, nothing had changed, and the military council had no plans to step down. Soon the occupation was full again.
Both the SCP and UP had conflicts but also links with the regime and with the National Congress (Al-Bashir’s party) in the past.
After the position of SCP and UP was rejected by the occupation, the Chairman of the Political Committee of the Transitional Military Council (TMC), Lt. Gen. Omer Zainal-Abidin, met a delegation of the National Change Front, headed by the front’s Presidential Council, Dr. Ghazi Salahuddin.
A number of National Change Front (NCF) members lauded the Armed Forces’ bias to the people and the decisions taken by the Transitional Military Council for releasing the political detainees and the formation of a civilian government, calling for fair trials to the corrupts and those who killed revolutionaries. They stressed the importance of establishing balanced regional and international relations, asserting that the front will a strong boost to the Transitional Military Council in the current stage.
The NCF which has about 22 affiliated parties that also had links with the regime in the past.
it was involved with the National Dialogue under the former regime and should not be confused with the Declaration of Freedom and Change forces who are the organisers of the current campaign of popular protest.
No doubt the revolution has pushed all the parties to go much further than they wanted and now some are trying to do deals but failing because the military council refuses to step down while the insurrection grows.
Transitional Military Council tries to strengthen itself
The old government militia thugs ran gold mines and factories and ran them with forced slave labour. The military council plans to bring the militia into and under their control. But that means the army will take ownership of the companies on gold, oil, sugar etc. As is said above Petros-Energy (gas and oil) ” is one of the largest companies of forced labour, enslavement and trafficking in human beings.”
Inside the military council and those close to it are those who carried out genocide in Darfur and elsewhere.
The revolution of the masses on the streets does not forget.
The US fears the revolution will deepen
The US Department of State has called on Sudan’s Transitional Military Council to show restraint, avoid conflict, and remain committed to the protection of the Sudanese people. It also added its voice to the growing international call for a speedy transition to civilian government.
In a statement via a spokesman yesterday, the US says it “supports a transition to a peaceful and democratic Sudan led by civilians who represent the diversity of Sudanese society. The will of the Sudanese people is clear: it is time to move toward a transitional government that is inclusive and respectful of human rights and the rule of law.”
The US government only says these things when it is scared, its support and advocacy for North African and Middle East brutality knows no bounds.
The IMF demanded removal of subsidies
The IMF demanded subsidy (that took over 5% of GDP) reform from December 2017 and again in November 2019. In their normal understated way they called subsidy removal “socially sensitive”. They estimated it could mean price rises of up to 40%. “The sharp increase in energy and wheat prices from subsidy removal would adversely impact vulnerable groups and could raise social tensions including among the middle class.”
But nevertheless they were demanding these changes.
Factories under Omar Al-Bashir
Under his rule the country was de-industrialised, and the country was put the service of the corrupt elite and nations like Saudi Arabia, China and many others, the government militia destroyed unions and factories as well as the genocide. Islamic forces (Islamic Movement) bought factories and closed them down, the railways are totally collapsed, at one time 20,000 workers were employed and were highly unionised.
Some big factories were sold to countries like Kuwait for example Kenna the biggest sugar factory that produces 400,000 tonnes of sugar, 16 million litres of ethanol etc.
EU and UK support detention and torture in Sudan and Libya
The RSF is deployed to patrol the border with Libya and round up Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees in response to the “Khartoum Process”, which is an initiative between European and African states, including Sudan, to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.
The Khartoum process is an inter-regional forum on migration covering the Horn of Africa and Europe. Its members are the African Union Commission (AUC) and the EU
The EU funding is used to try to stop emigration by capture, detention, and in some cases torture, of refugees and other migrants by Libyan and Sudanese authorities.
Roughly 115 million people (Ethiopia: 96.6 million, Somalia: 15.4 million, Eritrea: 6.4 million, and Djibouti: 0.81 million) live the area covered by this agreement.
The international impact of the Sudanese revolution
There are a number of countries that border Sudan that have historic and cultural links with the country.
Some government leaders, or dictators had a special, even family, relation to Omar Al-Bashir. For example, the Chad dictator, Idriss Déby, has been president for a long time, he led a military coup in 1990 that was supported by Gaddafi and al-Bashir.
Activists in Chad are demanding that the government restore access to social media after it was cut off a year ago. The restrictions were introduced on 28 March 2018 – shortly after the ruling group decided the President could remain in power until 2033.
Rebel movements hostile to the President are active in the country.
Other neighbours such as Central Africa, Congo, Eritreia, South Sudan, Cameroon and Egypt may also be affected and will be if the revolution continues.
As the revolution says, “bullets don’t kill us, silence does.”
It is almost surprising to see silence from the British Labour Party and the Jeremy Corbyn over the events in Sudan. Not a word. But then the same thing happens with these reformist organisations across the world, perhaps what disturbs them is that change is coming, with all its contradictions in so many countries and they don’t want any connection with a revolution.
However, for any socialist and internationalist, it is paramount to raise international support for the revolution from workers organisations including trade unions:
● Down with the Military Government
● Release all political prisoners
● Full support for the occupations and strikes.
● No trade or aid to the military government and regime.
● End EU lockdown of refugees in Africa
● All Sudan belongs to Sudanese workers and people
● For a government of the organisations of the revolution