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E. V.C.d. Sudan: Uprising against Military Dictatorship


The popular uprising in Sudan against the brutal dictatorship of Omar-al-Bashir, that began in December 2018 and resulted in his being removed from office in April 2019, has sometimes been portrayed as part of a second phase of  the 'Arab Spring'. This is a comparison rejected by the Sudanese, who had ousted two earlier military leaders through civil resistance in 1964 and 1985.  But informed commentators agree that 2019 differed in a number of significant ways from the two earlier movements, including the fact that in 2011 South Sudan had broken away and become an independent country.  After ousting Bashir the movement suffered a brutal counterattack in June 2019, which it overcame. Since then there have been some important political and legal changes, but how far the protesters can achieve their goals is still uncertain in 2020.

Historical Background: Independence, Military Rule and the 1964 Revolution

Some historical background is helpful to understanding present politics.  Sudan can be seen as a bridge between the Arab world and the rest of Africa.  Sunni Muslim Arabs have been dominant in the north of the country, but there have been varied ethnic groups, cultures, languages and religious beliefs among the people living in the south and west of the country as a result of the national boundaries drawn by the British Empire. Christian missionaries became active in the south under colonial rule. Egypt also played a role in Sudanese politics with a view to a possible union of the two countries. When Sudan became independent in 1956 Muslim political dominance was underpinned through the armed forces and the civil service - with northerners promoted to previous British posts, including in the south. Muslims were also dominant in the professions such as law and medicine and in higher education.  Significant political influence was also wielded by Muslim religious and political bodies: the Khatmiyya sect was represented politically by the Umma party, and the Ansar sect by the pro-Egypt People's Democratic Party, which later split and transmuted into the Democratic Unionist Party. The divisions between Muslim groups added to the instabilities of Sudanese politics, and by the 1970s the Islamist Muslim Brothers played a greater role.

The south was economically disadvantaged in comparison with the north and levels of education and literacy were far lower. There were also considerable divisions between the diverse ethnic and religious groups in the south. In the 1950s southern politicians generally pressed for greater autonomy for different regions during the debates about the constitution.  But a mutiny by southern troops in Equatorial Province in 1955, combined with attacks on northerners, presaged the armed resistance that was to become 'the first Sudanese civil war'.

Newly independent Sudan also faced a variety of problems inherent in limited experience in parliamentary politics. The British had only introduced a Legislative Assembly in 1948, and the country had a temporary transitional Constitution at independence, with a final Constitution being a major item on the political agenda. There were also economic problems arising from government policies. Disillusion with politics led to the military coup of November 1958. 

The new military regime, in which General Abboud soon consolidated his dominance, pursued a policy of suppressing expression of cultural and religious difference in favour of 'Arabization' in the south, including  the imposition of Arabic as the language used for teaching in schools and, in 1964, the expulsion of Christian missionaries. Many southern politicians and intellectuals fled to other parts of Africa and the opposition in exile was represented from 1962 by the Sudan African National Union (SANU) based in Uganda, which had links to the guerrilla insurgency that arose in the south of Sudan in 1963.

The decisive resistance to the military regime came, however, from Muslim professional groups and dissident army officers (there had been three attempts earlier by sections of the military to overthrow Abboud in favour of a more democratic government). The October 1964 revolution started at the University of Khartoum, after armed police attacked a seminar on southern Sudan and killed two students and a campus worker. The University Teachers' Union. together with the Doctors' Union and Bar Association, launched a general strike. The 1964 revolution was supported by a broad coalition which included the Communist Party, which had established a reputation for effective resistance, as well as Muslim political groups. Army leaders were willing to step in to promote transition to a renewed parliamentary democracy. Abboud was induced to resign five days after the outbreak of mass protests. 

The revolution ushered in four years of civilian parliamentary government. Some southern politicians in SANU opted to return to Sudan and take part in the new political process with the aim of making gains for the south. But others, who were committed to full southern independence, backed the continuation of armed struggle, which then escalated. The civilian regime responded to the guerrillas with violent repression.

Military Rule under Nimeiri and the Revolution of 1985

The second military dictatorship inaugurated in 1969 was headed by Colonel (later General) Jaffar Nimeiri, who initially made surprising allies (bringing the Communist Party into his government), and pursued a remarkably conciliatory policy towards the south with the aim of ending the war. The Southern Sudanese Liberation Movement was sufficiently well armed and trained that it could not easily be quelled by Sudan's military. Nimeiri entered into negotiations which resulted in the Addis Ababa Agreement of February 1972. Under the Agreement three southern provinces were united into a region with a degree of political autonomy and its own political assembly. This provision was reinforced by the opening up of the civil service (both in Khartoum and in the south) to southerners, incorporation of 6000 rebel fighters into the Sudanese armed forces, and promises that the Christian religion and use of the English language would be respected in the south. These changes were underpinned in a new Constitution for Sudan in 1973, and southern leaders were included in the government. As a result Nimeiri gained considerable southern support, including from the southern soldiers who were now part of the Sudanese army.

The concessions to the south were not, however, welcomed by major Muslim groups in the north of Sudan, especially the Muslim Brothers, who saw them as a betrayal of Islam. In order to maintain his position in power, in 1977 Nimeiri brought into his government a former Umma Prime Minister and, more importantly, the leader of the Muslim Brothers; the latter exerted significant influence on policy. (The Communist Party, which might have exercised a countervailing secular influence had broken with Nimeiri earlier and its leaders had been executed.) In 1978 the regime introduced Shari'a law. This tilt towards the demands of  more extreme northern Muslims, together with various administrative and boundary changes in the early 1980s, which weakened the south politically and excluded it from newly discovered oil fields, led to a renewal of guerrilla warfare, which many southerners in the armed forces then joined. Nimeiri acquired weapons from the Reagan Administration in the US, and also armed Arab and other militias who could be used to quell local revolts. But he was far from being able to suppress the new war in the south.

The widespread popular protests which toppled Nimeiri in April 1985 after 11 days were again spearheaded by the professional associations in the north. The military were also again willing to step in to promote a parliamentary system, but the renewed war in the south and the variety of political divisions made progress towards stable civilian government difficult.  Talks between northern politicians and southern leaders led in 1986  to a declaration of principles (including the repeal of Shari'a law) and proposals for a new Constitution.  But in the ensuing election the victory of the Muslim Umma and DUP parties led to a government that repudiated the 1986 agreement, and drove non-Arab minorities in the north to support the southern rebels. The Muslim Brothers, now re-named the National Islamic Front, who had been gaining in economic strength and control over the media, backed another coup in 1989 that installed Omar al-Bashir, who formally became president in 1993.  

The Dictatorship of Bashir

Bashir proved to be a much more ruthless dictator than his two predecessors. He jailed opposition activists, including members of the professions who had previously enjoyed privileged immunity, and ordered troops to fire on protesters. He also waged war on non-Arab rebel groups (who were however generally Muslims) in the western region of Darfur with such ferocity that he was indicted for war crimes. The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for him in 2009 on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and a second warrant in 2010 on the charge of genocide. Bashir encouraged local militias to suppress resistance by non-Arab minorities, a tactic that became notorious in Darfur, where the Arab Janjaweed attacked 'African' ethnic groups engaged in rebellion. Bashir also employed air power to massacre local peoples. The UN estimated in 2008 that about 300,000 people had died.  Ten years after the war in Darfur began in 2003, well over a million displaced people were in camps and many had fled to neighbouring Chad. There were numerous armed rebel groups and one of them signed a peace deal with Khartoum in 2006, but then reverted to rebellion.

The regime was, however, forced to seek an end to the renewed civil war in the south. Talks began in 2002 which resulted in a Protocol that allowed the south to seek self determination after six years, and Khartoum signed a peace agreement in January 2005, which gave the south considerable autonomy. A referendum in January 2011 voted for independence and South Sudan gained formal independence in July 2011.

Bashir pursued a policy of extreme Islamization, though the National Islamic Front lost influence within the regime by 1999, when its leader, Hassan al-Turabi was expelled from his post as Speaker of the National Assembly and the Assembly dissolved. In 2004 he was imprisoned with other political and military figures for allegedly plotting a coup, although released a year later.  The Islamic Front split between those who still supported the regime, who became the National Front, and those in opposition, renamed the Popular Congress Party. The harshness of the Islamic law imposed under Bashir is illustrated by the fact that the crime of 'apostasy', used against religious minorities, was punishable by death. Under the Public Order Act women who wore trousers in public could be punished with forty lashes. 

Islamization prompted significant opposition. Another key factor in rising public anger, however, was the dire economic situation inside the country.  This was due partly to the loss of oil fields to South Sudan in the context of an economic policy that relied heavily on oil and on mining gold and other minerals. The regime's inability to get international financial support, because of its appalling human rights record, also intensified economic problems, as did its policy of spending a huge proportion of its budget on the armed forces and armed militias. In 2018 inflation reached 70 per cent, whilst the economy shrank.

The Revolution Against Bashir

The uprising against Bashir had been preceded not only by armed rebellions by non-Arab groups, but by years of peaceful protest and organizing by young people, women and professional groups. These social forces came together, and then joined with long established political parties reflecting a wide range of ideological positions, in the revolution that began in December 2018. The uprising also encompassed both Arabs and other varied ethnic groups.

The trigger for popular rebellion was anger over the tripling of the price of bread in the town of Atbara, where protesters burned down the office of Bashir's official party. Protests spread rapidly across the country. A key role in organizing the movement was played by the Sudan Professionals Association (SPA) formed in 2016 out of earlier struggles for their professional rights by lawyers, journalists, university and school teachers, doctors, vets and engineers. The SPA developed a programme for the revolution, communicated via social media, and in January 2019 brought together all sympathetic political parties and organizations to create the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change (FDFC).

Bashir responded to the initial protests with repression and replaced the government with direct military rule. On April 6, the anniversary of the fall of Nimeiry, thousands took to the streets of Khartoum and surrounded the military headquarters, and on April 7 there was a general strike. When the regime used teargas and fired on the crowd some soldiers and sailors switched sides and fired back, and a few days later some junior officers joined the protesters. Senior generals acting, they claimed, to forestall bloodshed, deposed Bashir on April 11 and formed a military council to lead an interim government. The protesters remained encamped around the military headquarters and were able to force the resignation of the first head of this council, the former defence minister. He was replaced by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who had earlier talked with the protesters. The head of the National Intelligence and Security Service, which had targeted protesters, also resigned. The SPA called for a transitional civilian government and negotiations began between the FDFC and the new military leaders, but dragged on through May. Activists, distrustful of the military leaders, maintained their camp round the military headquarters into June, when they called a general strike to exert greater pressure.

Suddenly, on June 3, a section of the armed forces attacked the protesters ferociously, shooting to kill, tossing bodies into the Nile, raping, whipping and robbing those on the streets, and assaulting medical staff treating the wounded. The extreme violence precipitated new protests in the suburbs of Khartoum. Some policemen and regular soldiers also reacted with anger: several garrisons mutinied and indicated sympathy for the protesters. The repression was orchestrated by Mohammed, Hamdan Dagalo, who in April had appeared to sympathize with the demonstrators. Dagalo was head of the paramilitary Rapid Defence Forces (RDF), which had evolved out of the Janjaweed in Darfur, where Dagalo himself came to prominence. This move by the military junta was actively supported by the governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the military regime in Egypt. The junta closed down the internet in an attempt to impose an almost total blackout. The RDF patrolled the streets of Khartoum and the regular army did the same in Omdurman.   

The leaders of the uprising responded to the crackdown in Khartoum and other cities by calling a general strike, which was supported by millions. Shops closed and people stayed at home in response to a call by the SPA. The regime attempted to break the strike by widespread arrests of key personnel involved, such as air traffic controllers and other airport workers. The movement seized the initiative again in early July to demand immediate civilian rule. Many thousands took to the streets in Khartoum and many more did so across the country on Sunday July 5 (in what became known as 'the Millions March'), and defied security forces trying to disperse them.

By July the international context had changed due to the response to the deaths and numerous injuries inflicted by the RDF. (Exact numbers of those killed were hard to verify and were still being revised upward in 2020.) Even Saudi Arabia and the UAR felt obliged to moderate their support for the junta in response to US pressure. The African Union unanimously suspended Sudan’s membership at an emergency meeting in early June, and then provided mediation to end the bloodshed. Talks between the military and the FDFC had collapsed as a result of the assault launched by Dagalo, but were resumed with the help of African Union and Ethiopian  mediators.

After an earlier verbal agreement, a written agreement between the FDFC and the military junta, which still included Burhan and Dagalo, was signed on 17 July. It created a government in which the military shared power with civilian political leaders for a transition period of 39 months before elections. This deal was rejected by many exiles from Darfur, armed rebel groups, the Communist Party and others, who claimed that too many concessions had been made to the military. However, a new civilian Prime Minister was appointed: the veteran diplomat and economist Abdalla Hamdok was flown back from exile, and a new constitution was agreed.

A sign of progress in August was that Bashir appeared in court, though only on corruption charges. He was finally convicted on December 14 of corruption and money laundering, but sentenced to just two years in a ‘reform facility’, partly on grounds of his age – he was 75. The SPA welcomed the verdict, but indicated it was only a beginning.

Assessing the Revolution

The revolution that broke out in December 2018 differed from the two earlier movements that toppled military leaders in 1964 and 1985 in many ways, reflecting the length and repressiveness of the Bashir regime but also the changes in Sudanese society. Whereas the earlier uprisings succeeded within days, it took from December to April to unseat Bashir. and until July to achieve a role for civilians in a transition government, requiring an immense degree of perseverance and courage from the activists and continued determination from the people as a whole. The length of the transition to a new constitution and government is also much longer than after the previous uprisings. Moreover, a much broader swathe of Sudanese society has been mobilized in the movement to bring civilian and democratic rule to the country. The key role of the professional groups in the SPA is due to their years of struggle for autonomous unions, and the SPA has become the main advocate of independent trade unions for all workers to replace the previous government-controlled bodies. It is therefore very different from the privileged professional elite that took the initiative in the earlier uprisings.

The important role of women in the uprising was very visible in pictures of the demonstrations, where they were often in a majority. They were also militant: organizing sit-ins and climbing trees; and the image of Alaa Salah  standing on top of  a car on April 8 in Khartoum to address the protesters became symbolic of the revolution. Women suffered most under the Bashir regime. Some had also been encouraged by the global rise of feminism; and they had campaigned for years against the regime's laws which penalized them. The No to Oppression Against Women Initiative was set up in 2009 and was represented within the FDFC. Women attached to various political parties had also become much more prominent than in the 1980s – they were now influential in the moderate Muslim Umma Party for example. These party-political women were represented by the Civilian and Political Feminist Groups organization created as a result of the revolution. In view of their major role in the revolution, and their party-political representation, women were angry that they were largely excluded from the FDFC negotiations with the military, and that only two women were chosen for the eleven members Transitional Sovereign Council. However, women have been promised 40 per cent of the seats in the new legislative council when it is created.

Young people have also played a key role, not just on the streets but in organizational and policy terms in maintaining the radicalism of the movement. Gilbert Achcar (se the reference to his Le Monde article listed below) stresses the importance of local resistance committees set up by young men and women communicating through social media, who are committed both to help local communities and to ensure the goals of the revolution are met. The resistance committees have been formed both in cities and rural areas since June 2019 and have begun to take over local government from the committees of the Bashir regime. They form a radical counterweight to the more old fashioned and cautious mainstream political parties in the FDFC and in the transitional government.

A year after July 2019 there are grounds for both despair and cautious optimism about the future prospects for Sudan, illustrated by two contrasting reports in July 2020. On July 9 a story by a Sudanese-British journalist, Yousra Elbagir, in the Financial Times reported on hundreds camped out for 12 days outside the municipal offices in a town in Darfur, demanding an end to local police corruption, and government protection from continued attacks by armed militias. The author also comments on the dire state of the national economy with fuel shortages and 100 per cent inflation.  Two weeks later Kaamil Ahmed in the Guardian Weekly (24 July, p.24) reported on 'Joy in Sudan at liberal reforms', noting an end to the law on apostasy which threatened religious minorities with death, and also a ban on female genital mutilation and an end to women needing travel permits. The article notes that the repressive Public Order Act, which included a penalty of 40 lashes for women wearing trousers in public, had been abolished towards the end of 2019.

Military Coup in October 2021 Disrupts Transition to 2022 Elections

The uprising that deposed the dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019 secured a process of combined military and civilian rule as part of a transition to elections in 2022, intended to usher in civilian government. This process was disrupted by a military coup in October 2021. The interim civilian Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok and other civilian members of his cabinet were imprisoned on 25 October and the military declared a state of emergency. Demonstrators immediately took to the streets.

The coup had been engineered from within the transitional Sovereign Council, which presided over the transition and was dominated by the military, whilst the primarily civilian cabinet focused on administering the country. The Chair of the Sovereign Council, the de facto president of the country, General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan, justified the military takeover, citing 'infighting' earlier between the civilian and military wings, which could destabilize the country. But there was evidence before the coup that the military were strengthening their grip on power. During 2020 power sharing was extended to previous rebels in Darfur and the south of the country, and Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, who headed a force that had emerged out of the notorious Arab Janjaweed militia accused of genocide in Darfur, became the Vice Chair of the Sovereign Council. In September 2021 the army claimed to have foiled a coup by Islamists loyal to Bashir, a claim widely interpreted as an excuse to increase military control. The army then organized demonstrations in Khartoum that called for the military to take control. A major counter-demonstration by opponents of military rule was the largest since the mass protests of 2019.

Opposition to the October Coup Prompts Apparent Military Concession

Popular opposition to the coup intensified in November 2021, promoted by the Resistance Committees, which had been set up by the Sudanese Professionals Association in 2019.  Strikes and civil disobedience took place across the country, and mass rallies were held with the slogan: 'No Negotiation, No Partnership, No Compromise'. The October military coup also met with a strong international condemnation. The US Administration called for a return to civilian rule and threatened to cut off US economic aid the World Bank froze a loan of 2 billion dollars, which had been agreed in March that year.

As a result of both internal resistance and external pressure the military leaders of the Sovereign Council offered some apparent concessions, whilst maintaining their effective control. The former Prime Minister Hamdok was released from prison and made a TV broadcast a month after his arrest. He annunced that he had reached an agreement with the leaders of the coup to avoid bloodshed. and put the country back on track towards a transition.

Other cabinet ministers would be released and he would return as Prime Minister heading a civilian government, so reinstating the principle of civil-military partnership. The main concessions Hamdok made in accepting the 14 point deal was that elections would be postponed to 2021. This arrangement was accepted provisionally by the US and western governments as a return to legitimate government, and also by the African Union Council - under pressure from the Arab Emirates and Egypt, allies of the military. Power in Sudan has in practice shifted further toward the military, who had achieved, with their militia allies, almost total representation on the Sovereign Council, and  more control over the bureaucracy.

After the deal was agreed 12 cabinet ministers who belonged to the Forces for Freedom bloc (a coalition of political parties and unions opposed to military rule) resigned, and the Communist Party, the Arab Baathist Party, the moderate Islamist National Unionist Party also condemned the compromise with the military. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Resistance Committees have denounced the deal agreed by Hamdok and called for intensified resistance. This call was met by demonstrations in Khartoum and other towns and  by the raising of barricades.

Sudan: The Generals Strike Back, The Economist, 30/10/2021, pp. 59-60

Provides a well informed summary of the context and nature of the October military coup.

See also: 'Sudan: Coup de Grace', The Economist, 27 November 2021, p. 55.

This analysis of the coup leaders' decision to reinstate Prime Minister Hamdok interprets this move as' the army tightening its grip on Sudan's political transition. 

Achcar, Gilbert, Sudan's Revolution at the Crossroads: A Year since Omar-al-Bashir's Fall from Power, Translated into English by Charles Goulden. Spanish and Arabic translations available., Le Monde Diplomatique, 2020

Achcar, a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, assesses the prospects for a successful outcome in Sudan, and notes the parallels with the earlier uprising in Eygpt and the 2019 movement in Algeria. He also comments on the deteriorating economic situation and the added problems created by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. But the outcome of the revolution depends largely on the very varied social and ideological groupings that fostered the revolution, and their present relationship with long established political forces. Achar provides an illuminating analysis. He also examines the different tendencies within the armed forces, whose role is crucial.

Al-Karib, Hala, The revolution in Sudan: let it fall, OpenDemocracy, 05/02/2019,

A brief overview of the factors that led to the revolution in April 2019 and the toppling of Omar al-Bashir.

Alneel, Muzan, The People of Sudan Don't Want to Share Power with their Military Oppressors, Jacobin, 24/11/2021,

This article starts by suggesting the popular resistance in Sudan led the military to make a deal with the civilian politicians they had jailed, but on terms ensuring military control.  It also notes the refusal by the resistance committees that led the 2019 revolution to accept power sharing. Muzan traces the evolution from the 2019 revolution to the coup, stressing that political parties had been dominant in the transition civilian government. He also comments on the economic problems, including very high inflation, which had led to popular unrest, which might have encouraged the coup plotters.

Arman, Yasir, The Sudanese Revolution: A Different Political Landscape and a New Generation Baptized in the Struggle for Change, The Zambakari Advisory Blog, Phoenix, AZ, The Zambakari Advisory, 2019

Arman surveys the social composition of the revolutionary nonviolent mass movement, seen as more inclusive than the previous uprisings since independence in 1956. In 2019 both rural and urban areas, students and professionals, political parties and civil society groups, as well as social activists engaged in resisting dams or land grabs or and other causes, joined in. The participation of some Islamists from both older and younger generations is significant. Arman also stresses the greater role played by women, and  suggests that the movement's discourse - embracing diversity, equal citizenship and anti-racism - could provide a new discourse for nation-building.

See also: Akashra, Yosra ‘Killing a student is killing a nation’, OpenDemocracy, 22 April 2016.

Explores how Sudanese universities have become the only space left to exercise freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

See also: Hale, Sondra, ‘Sudanese feminists, civil society, and the Islamist military’, OpenDemocracy, 12 February 2015.

Investigates the impact of NGOs and civil society participation of progressive women in Sudan in representing women and youth.

Awad, Nazik, After the revolution: Sudan’s women face backlash from Islamic fundamentalists, OpenDemocracy, 31/07/2019,

Detailed account of the Sudanese women activists who supported the revolution and contributed to ousting Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

See also: Awad, Nazik, ‘Women’s stories from the frontline of Sudan’s revolution must be told’, OpenDemocracy, 20 March 2019.

Provides background on socio-economic conditions in Sudan and highlights women's leading  role in the revolution. Includes a direct link to  #SudanUprising which is relevant to understanding how the discourse about the revolution developed on social media.

Berridge, Willow, The Sudan Uprising and its possibilities: regional revolution, generational revolution, and an end to Islamist politics?, London School of Economics, 2019

Blog based on contribution to panel on 'Prospects for Democracy in Sudan' at LSE, 11 October 2019. Berridge compares the 2019 revolution with the 1964 and 1985 uprisings in Sudan, and assesses their failures to establish a long term democracy in the country.

See also: Berridge, W.J., '50 years on: Remembering Sudan's October Revolution', African Arguments, 20 0ctober 2014, pp. 16.

Berridge notes Sudan's status as 'a gateway between the Arab and African worlds', which means it is often overlooked in discussion of Arab civilian uprisings overthrowing military autocracies.  But long before the 'Arab Spring' of 2011, the October 1964 revolution overthrew a military dictator and brought in four years of parliamentary democracy.   The article suggests that Sudan did not join in the 2011 uprisings partly because the regime had learned lessons from 1964 and 1985.  It also explores the changes in opposition politics since the 1960s such as the new role of regional rebel movements, the mixed legacy of 1964, and the problems of creating a democracy after a revolution.

See also: Berridge, W.J, Civil Uprising in Modern Sudan: The 'Khartoum Springs' of 1964 and 1985, London, Bloomsbury Academic, 2016, pp. 304 (pb).

See also: Hasan, Yusuf Fadl, 'The Sudanese Revolution of October 1964', The Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 5, no. 4, December 1967, pp. 491-509. Published online by Cambridge University Press: 11 November 2008. DOI:

Study by Sudanese historian of the first revolution after Sudan became an independent state.

Burke, Jason ; Salih, Zeinab Mohammed, First the despot fell, then the spy chief...and Sudan dares to dream, Observer, 14/4/2019, pp. 32-33

Covers the early days of the April 2019 revolution and the role of the Sudanese Professionals Association. Organizer of many of the protests, in negotiations with the military. Reprinted in Guardian Weekly, 19 April 2019, pp.10-12

Collins, Tom, Hamdok's Deal with Military Puts Sudan's Future in the Balance, African Business, issue November 2021, 2021

This is an informative article about the reasons for the Prime Minister's decision to accept the deal offered by the military a month after their October 2021 coup, and the terms of the agreement. Collins also notes the responses of political parties and the organized resistance on the streets. He notes that Russia was building a military base in ort Sudan and did not condemn the coup, and considers how far the Egyptian government might have prompted the coup.

Copnall, James, Sudan's Third Revolution, History Today, Vol. 69, issue 7, 07/07/2019,

Copnall notes that the revolt against President Omar-al-Bash ir is not the first in Sudan's history, but it is the first since Africa's former largest country split in two, when South Sudan became independent in 2011. He summarizes the events leading to the fall of Bashir. He also discusses the long term tensions between the Arab Islamist northern elite, who dominated politics, and the great variety of African peoples and cultures, a conflict revealed by the bloody suppression of unrest in Darfur from 2003. 

Elmahadi, Taariq, "We Are All Darfur” in Khartoum: A Conversation on the Sudan Uprising with Sara Elhassan, National Review of Black Politics, Vol. 1, issue 1, 2020, pp. 154-161

Elhassan regularly uses her social media platform to raise awareness of social and political conditions in Sudan. She became well known after the December 2018 protests led to the demand for Bashir to be deposed.

See Elhassan, Sara, ‘Revolution in Sudan: on the verge of civilian rule?’, Afropunk, 12 July 2019, available at

Elnaiem, Mohammed, Armed, unarmed and non-violent: the Sudanese resistance in Sudan’s 2018-2019 revolutionary uprising, Fletcher Forum of World Affairs 43, Vol. 43, issue 2, 2019, pp. 5-26

This article argues that the movement that led to the imprisonment of Bashir can only be properly understood in terms of the grassroots struggle that defined it. Elnaiem also argues that it was a multi-layered struggle and discusses the composition of the broader resistance and the historical legacy it built upon, as well as the obstacles to further progress.

See also: Elnaiem, Mohammed, (2019) ‘Sudan’s uprising a ‘people revolution’, Green Left Weekly, Issue 1209, pp. 14-15.

See also: de Waal, Alex, ‘What’s Next for Sudan’s Revolution’, Foreign Affairs, 23 April 2019.

Analyses the Sudanese revolution with an emphasis on its non-violent forms of resistance.

Malik, Nesrine, In Sudan, President Bashir is gone – but the shadow of his government remains, New Statesman, 18/04/2019,

Malik examines the 30 years of Bashir's dictatorial rule and comments on the lack of civil society leaders able to install a democratically elected government.

Mohammed, Sara, Sudan’s Third Uprising: Is It a Revolution?, The Nation, 25/01/2019,

Outlines the events that led to the overthrow of Bashir in 2019 and links them to the legacy of civil unrest, which overthrew two previous military dictatorships in 1964 and 1985. 

See also: Abbas, Reem, ‘Sudan’s Unfinished Revolution: The Dictator Is Gone, but the Fight Continues’, The Nation, 26 April 2019.

Nugdalla, Sarah, The Revolution Continues: Sudanese Women’s Activism, In Okech A. (eds) Gender, Protests and Political Change in Africa. Gender, Development and Social Change, Cham, Switzerland, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 107-130

This chapter examines how aspects of the Bashir regime's policy of Islamisation, control over women's bodies and concepts of  morality and respectability, prompted Sudanese women's activism after 1989.  It also explores how the political context has influenced space for activism, and the changing discourse about women's activism arising from the #FallThatIsAll movement.

See also: Gorani, Amel, ‘Sudanese women demand justice’, OpenDemocracy, 20 May 2011.

Amel Gorani reports the systematic use of sexual violence, torture, cruel and degrading treatment as one of the major security threats and tools of repression targeting women and communities all over Sudan.

See also: Bakhit, Rawa Gafar, ‘Women in #SudanRevolts: heritage of civil resistance’, OpenDemocracy, 19 July 2012

Explores how women have been active in the Sudanese civil resistance and non-violent protests

Porvan, Lucy ; Rowsome, Alice, Mothers of the Revolution, New Internationalist, 2020, pp. 65-71

Provides an overview of the Sudanese revolution and developments in 2020, but also illustrates the great variety of women involved in the protests and their different styles of politics (political parties, unionism, resistance committees, climate activism) through brief biographical sketches. The authors also interviewed a Nubian woman who had sent evidence of war crimes to Amnesty International and the International Criminal Court and a mechanic who finds protection in wearing men’s clothing.

Taha, Manal ; Tucker, Joseph, Dissecting Sudan's Coup, Washington, D.C., United State Institute for Peace - USIP, 2021

This interview with Joseph Tucker provides an immediate analysis of the October military coup, noting that steps had had been taken towards it over several months. The analysis also considers the regional and international context of the October 2021 coup and how the protests against military rule might develop. 

Tønnessen, Liv ; Al-Nagar, Samia, Patriarchy, politics and women’s activism in post-revolutionary Sudan, 2020, pp. 4

The authors argue that whilst Sudanese women were at the forefront of the uprising under the banner 'freedom, peace and justice', they were only marginally represented in the negotiations after Bashir's fall. They have also been sidelined in the process of creating a transitional government, though continuing to claim their right to be represented.  This report focuses on the 'patriarchal mentality behind and composition of the negotiations' and Sudanese women's demands.

Woldermariam, Michael ; Young, Alden, What Happens in Sudan Doesn’t Stay in Sudan, Foreign Affairs, 19/07/2019,

This is a political analysis of the possible ramifications of the Sudanese revolution across the Horn of Africa.

Zunes, Stephen, Sudan's 2019 Revolution: The Power of Civil Resistance, Washington D.C., International Center on Nonviolent Conflict , 2021, pp. 44

Zunes, a well known theorist of civil resistance and Middle East expert, interviewed activists and civil society groups involved in the movement to overthrow Omar as-Bashir to produce this study. He also interviewed journalists and academics who covered the movement.