Foreign Policy Digital

The Counterrevolution Begins in Sudan

Omar al-Bashir is gone, but his system is fighting back. The result is total stalemate—for now.

KHARTOUM, Sudan—It was 1 o’clock Tuesday morning, and thousands of protesters were still waving flags outside Sudan’s army headquarters and listening to speeches when word came. Inside the building, the ruling junta had just rebuffed an offer by their civilian representatives, called the Declaration of Freedom and Change,  to share power.

“The military council wanted to keep control,” Haider Elsafi Shapo, a civilian negotiator, told Foreign Policy. Even the civilians’ offer to create a council with an even number of civilians and military figures was rejected.

Afterward, the lights on a stage were unceremoniously cut, the bridge went silent, and many protesters simply trudged away. But the despair did not last. Within minutes, a crowd of young men came back and began stomping loudly on the metal bridge. Sudanese flags returned to full staff. Chants of “freedom” grew to a roar.

Yet the military doesn’t appear to be listening. The

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