Sudan: civil resistance rejects 'power-sharing' deal

Sudan's ousted Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who had been placed under house arrest with last month's military coup, appeared on TV Nov. 21 to sign a new power-sharing agreement with putsch leader Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. But the deal officially restoring Hamdok as prime minister was immediately rejected by the pro-democracy movement in the streets. Just after the announcement, security forces in Khartoum fired tear-gas at protesters marching toward the presidential palace to demand the military's complete withdrawal from politics. "The future of the country will be determined by the young people on the ground," said Siddiq Abu-Fawwaz of the Forces for Freedom & Change coalition.

Military toops shot dead at least 15 people on Nov. 17 in the bloodiest confrontation yet with pro-democracy activists demonstrating against the October coup. The grassroots neighborhood-based Resistance Committees nonetheless vowed to continue the protests. "The day's massacre reinforces our slogans: no negotiations, no partnership, no compromise," said a statement from the Sudanese Professionals Association, another pillar of the pro-democracy coalition.

Demonstrations have centered on Khartoum, but protests also broke out last week in the eastern city of Port Sudan. At least 40 people have been killed since al-Burhan dissolved the military-civilian power-sharing transitional government. The widening crackdown has drawn international condemnation; the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights described the use of live ammunition by the security forces as "utterly shameful." The EU said perpetrators "will be held accountable."

Al-Burhan appointed a new ruling council last week, but struggled to fill seats in a new cabinet—exposing the difficulty the military faces in finding civilian governing partners. UN special envoy to Sudan Volker Perthes has called for "a new technocratic cabinet." (BBC News, Sudan TribuneThe New Humanitarian)