The Sudanese military regime cracked down on pro-democracy protestors on June 3, ending civilian protests against the regime that began in December last year. Over 115 people were killed when soldiers attacked a protest site and rampaged through Khartoum. The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said 40 bodies were pulled out of the Nile, while a large number of women protestors were raped. The government admitted 61 deaths.
The protests had led the regime to push out long-reigning dictator Omar al-Bashir. When the demonstrators had pushed for full civilian rule, the military had played for time and then launched the present crack down.
A number of reports said that the military regime had become emboldened after it won the support Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates for the crackdown. UAE military vehicles were seen on the streets of Khartoum. The army commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo, known as “Hemeti,” who led the assault on the demonstrators had reportedly flown to the Persian Gulf emirates beforehand. The UAE and Saudi Arabia immediately pledged $ 3 billion in assistance in Sudan.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia, both monarchies, have positioned themselves as the primary opponents to popular protests in the Arab world, fuelled by their memories of the earlier Arab Spring. Sudanese troops are also fighting in Yemen to support the Sunni Arab states proxy war against Iranian-backed Shia groups. Initially the three Arab governments pretended to support the demonstrations, while quietly providing support and advice to the Sudanese military as to how to regain control. Despite some critical tweets by US National Security Advisor John Bolton, Washington has remained largely quiet about the crackdown, a sign of the Trump administration’s general passivity to large-scale human rights violations. The African Union suspended Sudan’s membership, demanding a return to civilian rule.
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