Jun 6, 2019

How Sudan's pro-democracy uprising was beaten back

Dave Lawler, author of World

Members of Sudan's security forces patrol in the city of Omdurman, near Khartoum. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Organizers of Sudan's pro-democracy protests say they will regroup and fight on after a deadly crackdown this week by paramilitary groups.

The latest: The African Union on Thursday suspended Sudan's membership following an emergency meeting. The bloc said the suspension would last "until the effective establishment of a civilian-led transitional authority."

How we got here:

  • Dec. 19: Protests over high prices and economic deprivation begin in several cities. Soon, protestors begin calling for Omar al-Bashir, the country's brutal dictator, to step down.
  • Feb. 19: Bashir declares a state of emergency and empowers security services to crack down on the demonstrations.
  • April 6: A sit-in begins outside military headquarters in Khartoum.
  • April 11: Sudan's army arrests Bashir and announces it will take power until elections can be held.
  • April 21: Protestors break off talks with the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and say the generals aren't willing to give up power. Talks eventually resume, but the sit-in protests continue.
  • May 15: The army and opposition reach a tentative power-sharing agreement that involves a three-year transition to democracy. Disputes and distrust remain.
  • May 28: Protestors call for a two-day national strike.
  • June 3: Paramilitaries attack the sit-in camp and other sites in and around Khartoum, killing dozens.
  • June 4: Sudan's de facto military ruler, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, voids agreements with the opposition and says elections will be held in 9 months.

The geopolitical picture: Three powerful dictatorships in the region — Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — have supported the TMC's efforts to consolidate power.

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