New demonstrations were organized on February 7 in Khartoum and several other cities in Sudan against the ruling forces of the Sovereign Transitional Council, in a relentless attempt by opposition forces to demand the military leadership’s exit from national politics.
Security forces tried to disperse the demonstrations with the use of tear gas and water cannons, fortunately without any casualties. At the end of the day, however, numerous police operations were carried out in the main cities, arresting many members of the opposition forces.
Arrests continued over the next two days and involved both members of civil organizations and politicians from the former government headed by Abdalla Hamdok. Among the most prominent names of the arrested activists and politicians, those of former Minister for Cabinet Affairs Khalid Omer Youssif, Secretary General of the Committee for the Removal of Power Tayeb Osman Youssef and his colleague Wagdi Salih.
The United States, the European Union, Great Britain, Norway, Canada and Switzerland expressed concern about the evolution of Sudanese political dynamics and expressly condemned “the harassment and intimidation of the military authorities” and called for the release of the arrested opposition figures.
The Sudanese government’s response was dry and contemptuous. Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Al-Sadiq, publicly described as an interference the comments made on social media by the ambassadors of the so-called troika (US, Britain and Norway) while the government’s media advisor, Colonel Tahir Abu Haja, held a press conference in which he claimed that the arrests were not politically motivated and were conducted in accordance with the laws of the country, based on specific allegations of embezzlement.
Also intervening in the political debate on February 12 was the vice-president of the Sovereign Transitional Council, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as “Hemetti,” who also commands the notorious Rapid Support Forces militia.
In a ceremony held in the district of Suba, in the southern part of Khartoum, on the occasion of the inauguration of two aid organizations – “The Hands of Goodness” and “Contribution to Sustainable Development” – General Dagalo called on the Sudanese to join forces for the reconstruction of the country, accusing a part of the country’s society of disinterest in the fate of the nation.
To this reference, clearly addressed to the demonstrators, he added how democracy is possible only through the vote of elected candidates, adding that a compromise is necessary at this stage, as well as the removal of any obstacle in the direction of the process of reconciliation and unity.
General Dagalo’s intervention on February 12 is the first after a long period of relative silence, during which he also spent about two weeks in the United Arab Emirates – where he met crown prince Mohammad Bin Zayed – for reasons that the government did not want to clarify and that the oppositions consider instead connected to the planning of the repression of the protest.