Lancaster's Sudanese community protest at Lancaster town hall and Market Square after military coup in Sudan
Lancaster’s Sudanese community and local supporters gathered on the Town Hall steps and Market Square on Saturday, October 30 to protest at Monday’s military coup in Sudan.
The event was organised to protest against the coup which came just weeks before the military was supposed to hand the leadership of the transitional sovereign council that runs the country over the civilians.
Abdalla and Malik, two Sudanese children who came to Lancaster in 2016, read out a statement explaining how in 2019 the Sudanese people had finally, after eight months of peaceful protest, brought down the military regime of Omar El Bashi.
El Bashi had been dictator for over 30 years, contributing to the human rights abuses across the country which forced thousands of Sudanese to flee to safety in other countries, including the UK. Abdalla explained that Monday’s military coup happened just before the military was due to finally hand over the government to an elected civilian government.
Abdalla’s mother Reem said: "We are so worried about the current situation in Sudan. Since the outbreak of the crisis the regime has cut off all communications and internet inside and outside the country.
"We are very concerned about the situation because we know very well how the Janjaweed militias and army traitors deal with defenceless people, from killing, violations and using live bullets to terrorize citizens and children.
"It was important for us to speak out today to inform the international community and tell them what our compatriots are suffering at home.
"And when we hear our voices, we hope that the International Justice and Human Rights Organization will intervene for this crisis, because our people have suffered from injustice for many years. And we call on the UK government to condemn and support this military coup. Sudan is returning to democracy."
Sheeren, another Sudanese mother at the protest, said: "Today the Sudanese people from all over the world came out to protest to stand in support of the people in Sudan and to show a clear message that we condemn the coup and don’t want a military government. The Sudanese people demand an elected civil government to help rebuild a bright future."
Sudan is the second largest country in Africa. In August 2019, the Sudanese revolution began with street protests, high rates of inflation, austerity and the lack of basic life requirements, despite the fact that Sudan is rich in natural resources (vegetable, animal) and various wealth.
People took to the streets in peaceful protests that lasted nearly eight months and eventually led to the overthrow of the military regime of Omar al-Bashy, who had been a dictator for more than thirty years. The army and armed militia killed several hundred civilians. This included the Khartoum massacre on 3 June.
Where civilians were demanding a democratic process to appoint the next government, the military still wanted to run Sudan jointly in what became known as the Sovereignty Council.
In the end, it was agreed to run the country jointly for two years until appropriate elections, when the military would hand over the government to an elected civilian government.
But the concept that Sudan has gone through great popular upheaval to bring about change after 30 years of military dictatorship does not seem to be well understood by the army generals.
On October 26 of this year, the army orchestrated a military coup led by Major General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan.
The coup came just weeks before the army is due to hand over the leadership of the Transitional Sovereignty Council that runs the country to civilians. The Prime Minister and several officials were moved from their homes to undisclosed locations.
The Sudanese people have demonstrated once again resilience and strength of will.
After thirty years of oppression and suffering, they took to the streets, protested peacefully and marched for democracy and freedom and denounced the coup.
However, they again face military shooting with live ammunition and spreading terror in the streets.
Military commanders disrupted internet and phone service in their attempt to suppress people, making it difficult for people to communicate.
This time people are more challenging than ever to restore and transition to democracy.