A New Sense Of Hope for Sudan's Revolutionaries
Mass protests for civilian rule resume in Sudan less than a month after the military crackdown which saw more than 100 people killed and many more wounded, according to protestors.
In cities across the country tens of thousands have taken to the streets demanding the end of military government.
In the days after the brutal crackdown on June 3rd, when the sit-in was dispersed, the survivors retreated to their homes and safe houses. But somehow they kept up contact with each other and the world beyond Sudan.
The Sudanese are experiencing fear and shock. With over 100 people killed, along with credible accounts of rape, the people of Sudan are deeply traumatised by the events that have unfolded.
Yet despite the trauma, the people of Sudan have found the strength to carry on. One foreign journalists in Khartoum spoke of this strength stating "I was aware of the wide network of resisters who were determined to keep the revolution alive...I was surprised when, a couple of weeks after the killings, small demonstrations began in the suburbs of cities and towns."
A couple of hundred people here, 20 to 30 people there, they held up placards and listened to speakers urging non violent resistance. This was the public face of the movement that was energetically regrouping. Not only had the state failed to destroy the leadership but those who had been arrested were being replaced.
The success of the Forces of Freedom and Change has been its adaptability and its neighbourhood organisation. In fact since the protests began late last year, the state intelligence networks struggled to penetrate the close knit communities of activists. No matter how many arrests took place there always seemed to be somebody waiting to take up the work.
* Divisions in the Military *
For the military its entire success and process has been based on giving the appear of a movement while ensuring that the generals retain control. However there are undoubtably divisions among the senior ranks and there is resentment of Hemeti's power. Junior officers who pose a threat have been purged.
There is a relentless state of vigilance against an internal military coup similar to that which toppled Mr Bashir.
There are signs of uncertainty among the military. The scale of the violence against this weekends protests could have been much greater. Many question whether this was deliberate? Are international pressures, not least from the United States taking effect?
* The revolution is not dead *
Suddenly Hemeti does not seem the all-powerful figure he was in the days after June 3rd. At an international level the opposition has managed to galvanise opinion on social media despite the internet blackout. With popular musicians like Rihanna and Wyclef Jean adopting the cause of liberty in Sudan.
The African Union has also suspended Sudan. American and African mediators have visited Khartoum in recent weeks. As yet mediation has failed to bring tangible change. The military is unwilling to concede civilian majorities in key decision making bodies.
But what has altered the last few days in the sense of momentum? The protestors have been emboldened by the size of the crowds and thus the military will be fearful.
The optimistic scenario is that the generals will start to negotiate in earnest and yield to demands for a civilian-led transition. But equally there is the possibility that Hemeti and other hardliners will push for an escalating security response.
In other words, there might be more and worse bloodshed. The third possibility is that moderate elements in the military align themselves openly with the protest movement. This would bring real risk of armed conflict in Sudan's cities.
The role of the American's, Saudi's and the African Union is key here. For the Saudi's especially - the realisation is surely dawning that the military cannot govern either by consent or coercion.
WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED FROM THE WEEKEND IS THAT THE REVOLUTION IS NOT DEAD.
WHAT WE DO NOT KNOW IS WHETHER IS IT CLOSE TO BRINGING A *DEMOCRATIC SUDAN*