Anti-government protesters in Khartoum, April 2019
Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / REUTERS

On April 11, 16 weeks of non-violent popular protests in the streets of Khartoum and other major Sudanese cities culminated in a military takeover. The demonstrators had called for an end to economic austerity and the 30-year rule of President Omar al-Bashir. Forced to choose between firing on the vast crowds, many of them sons and daughters of the country’s middle class and even of some army officers, and disobeying orders, soldiers chose the latter. The vice president and minister of defense Lieutenant General Awad Ibn Auf announced that Bashir had been removed from power.

That, however, was not enough to win over the opposition Coalition for Freedom and Change. Ibn Auf was Bashir’s ultra-loyalist heir apparent and he made no reference to conceding to the demonstrators’ demands. Rather, it appeared that a cabal of Bashir’s security henchmen had simply taken over.

The coup makers quickly ran into trouble.

To read the full article

  • ALEX DE WAAL is Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation and a Professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
  • More By Alex de Waal