Sudan's PM Hamdok resigns as crackdown on protesters continues

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  • Abdalla Hamdok
    Sudanese public administrator and prime minister

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned Sunday, more than two months after a coup and following another deadly crackdown on protesters, with the military now firmly in control.

Sudan had been undergoing a fragile journey toward civilian rule since the 2019 ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir, but was plunged into turmoil when military leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan launched his coup on 25 October and detained Hamdok.

Hamdok was reinstated on 21st November under a deal promising elections for mid-2023, but local media had recently reported he had been absent from his office for days, with rumours swirling over his possible resignation.

"I have tried my best to stop the country from sliding towards disaster," Hamdok said Sunday evening, addressing the nation on state television.

Sudan "is crossing a dangerous turning point that threatens its whole survival," he said.

Hamdok was the civilian face of the country's fragile transition, while Burhan has been the country's de facto leader following Bashir's ouster.

Hamdok cited "the fragmentation of the political forces and conflicts between the (military and civilian) components of the transition" and said that "despite everything that has been done to reach a consensus... it has not happened".

'Power to the people'

Mass protests against the coup have continued even after Hamdok was reinstated, as demonstrators have distrusted veteran general Burhan and his promise to guide the country toward full democracy.

Protesters have also charged that the deal to reinstate Hamdok simply aimed to give a cloak of legitimacy to the generals, whom they accuse of trying to continue the regime built by Bashir.

Thousands of demonstrators on Sunday braved tear gas, a heavy troop deployment and a telecommunications blackout to demand a civilian government.

They shouted "power to the people" and demanding the military return to the barracks, at protests near the presidential palace in the capital Khartoum and in its twin city Omdurman.

The pro-democracy Doctors' Committee said security forces killed three protesters, including one who was shot in the chest and another who suffered a "severe head wound".

As with previous demonstrations, which have become regular since the coup, the authorities had erected roadblocks, with shipping containers blocking Nile River bridges between the capital and outlying areas.

But thousands still came out to demonstrate "in memory of the martyrs", with at least 57 protesters now killed since the coup, according to pro-democracy medics.

Activists have said on social media that 2022 will be "the year of the continuation of the resistance".

They demand justice for those killed since the coup as well as the more than 250 who died during the months of mass protests that paved the way for the toppling of Bashir.

(with AFP)

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