As pressure mounts, 3 Sudanese coup opponents are arrested

Three prominent figures supporting democracy were detained by the Sudanese security force overnight, their families and other activists reported Wednesday. This was in response to growing international and internal pressure on the country's military after its coup.

As pressure mounts, 3 Sudanese coup opponents are arrested

As protests against Monday's takeover in Khartoum continued, many businesses closed in response to the calls for strikes. The coup could stop Sudan's unsatisfactory transition to democracy that began in 2019 after the ouster of Omar al-Bashir, long-serving ruler. This was following a popular uprising.

Protesters set up stone barricades along main roads throughout the day, some by dozens or hundreds. Security forces entered, chased protestors and removed the barriers.

Nazim Sirag, activist, said that it looked like a hit and run process. They remove and then we build.

Activists claimed that some protestors were wounded or shot, but they didn't have precise figures. According to Sudan Doctors' committee physicians, at least six protestors were killed by security forces since Monday. More than 140 others were injured, some in critical condition.

Tahani Abbas, a prominent rights defender, stated that the pro-democracy movement will continue street protests despite crackdown.

She said that she was frustrated, but that there is no other choice than to walk down the street.

After weeks of tensions between civilian and military leaders, the coup was carried out in response to Sudan's progress towards democracy.

The African Union has suspended Sudan, a move that is usually made in the aftermath of coups. On Wednesday, the AU Peace and Security Council stated via Twitter that the suspension would continue until the effective restoration the civilian-led Transitional Authority. This is the government that was ousted.

The AU intends to send a mission in Sudan to hold negotiations with rival parties.

The World Bank stopped disbursements to Sudan for its operations. Sudan's economy has been ravaged by years of mismanagement, sanctions, and was dealt a blow in 2011, when the oil-rich South seceded, taking with them more than half of the public revenues and 95% oil exports.

Bank President David Malpass stated that he hoped that peace and the integrity in the transition process would be restored so that Sudan can resume its economic development and take its rightful place within the international financial community.

The government of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, now deposed, had begun a series reforms to transform the country and bring it back into the international community.

The World Bank announced in May that it had provided $2 billion to Sudan for large infrastructure projects. This was after $1.15 billion of bridge financing from the United States to Cleese Sudan to pay its overdue payments to the international financing body.

After widespread international condemnation, Hamdok was allowed to return home with his wife on Tuesday night. Hamdok was a former U.N. economist and was taken into custody along with other government officials after the military took power.

Numerous Western embassies in Khartoum stated Wednesday that they will continue to recognize Hamdok's Cabinet and Hamdok as the constitutional leaders of Sudan's transitional government.

The embassies of France, the United States, the U.K. and other European countries made a joint call for the release of detained officials as well as for talks between military personnel and pro-democracy movements.

Joseph Borrell, EU's chief of foreign affairs, tweeted Wednesday that he had spoken with Hamdok to support the return to a civilian-led transitional administration as "the only path forward."

He stated, "We don’t want Sudan to return to the dark hours of its past."

Abdel-Fattah Burhan is the general who led the coup. He has promised to hold elections in July 2023 as planned and to appoint an technocrat government while he does so.

Burhan met Wednesday morning with Ali Hassan bin Ghafar, the Saudi Ambassador to Sudan. They discussed "efforts to solve the crisis through consultations and all parties," the Sudanese military stated.

Critics doubt that the military is serious in ceding control. They point out that the coup occurred just weeks before Burhan was due to hand over the Sovereign Council's leadership to a civilian. This council was composed of both military and civilian leaders, but was led by a general. Hamdok's transitional government managed day-to-day affairs. Both were disbanded in the coup.

Overnight, Ismail al-Taj was taken by the Sudanese Pros' Association. He is the leader of the protests that brought down al-Bashir. Sediq al-Sadiq al-Mahdi is a leader in Sudan’s largest political party known as Umma, brother to Foreign Minister Mariam al-Mahdi. Khalid al-Silaik was a former adviser to the prime minister.

They have been vocal critics of the military coup and called for protests. Tens of thousands of Sudanese are already on the streets and activists plan a mass protest on Saturday.

According to Marwa Kamel, Al-Silaik, he was taken into custody moments after giving an interview to Al-Jazeera. He criticized the military's overthrow and called Hamdok and his government legitimate administrators of Sudan in the interview.

"What Gen. Burhan did was a coup. Al-Silaik stated that "people will respond to this over the coming days."

The arrests were confirmed by Nazik Awad, Nazim Siraj, and the Umma party.

Burhan disbanded the Sovereign Council on Monday and the transitional government. He claimed that the military had to intervene to stop the country sliding into civil war. He had warned that he would not delay the transition to civilian leadership.

In the meantime, flights into and out of Khartoum's international Airport were scheduled to resume Wednesday. This was a day after the Civil Aviation Authority had announced that they would be suspended through Oct. 30.

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