Sudan: Cities Brace for Marches of the Millions Today

Protesters in Khartoum in 2019.

Khartoum / El Fasher / El Geneina / Atbara — Sudanese across the country are preparing to take to the streets today in the Marches of Millions, as political divisions and divergences in demands and paths prevail. Marches have already begun in several cities, and in the capital Khartoum, the streets leading to the General Command of the Armed Forces, as well as several major bridges have been closed, amid a heavy deployment of police and other regular forces.

The Joint Chamber of Marches of Millions for Civil Governance has called on the Sudanese public to fill the streets in all the country during the Marches of Millions on October 21 million to support the democratic transition and civilian rule.

At time of posting, early reports say that protest marches have already begun in El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, Atbara in White Nile state, and in some neighbourhoods of Omdurman adjacent to Khartoum.

All schools in North Darfur, South Darfur, and Red Sea State have been closed for the day in anticipation of the protests, while Emirates Airlines has announced the cancellation of flights between Dubai and Khartoum International Airport today and tomorrow (EK773/21 - DXB/FRT and EK734/21 - KRT/DXB), "due to the projected escalation of demonstrations/protests" citing "concerns related to safety, security, and operational capability", the airline says.

At a press conference on Wednesday, the spokesmen for the Chamber, which includes 70 Resistance Committees and revolutionary, professional, and other bodies, demanded that the military hand over power, the formation of the Revolutionary Legislative Council and the completion of the peace process, in addition to handing over Al Bashir and his co-accused to the International Criminal Court.

Suleiman Abu Nadeen, leading member of the Chamber, called for handing over power to the civilian side. The chamber also demanded the abolition of the Transitional Partners' Council. The Chamber also called for classifying the Islamic movement as a terrorist organisation.

Thirteen resistance committees in Khartoum however declared in a statement yesterday that the October 21 processions are "against all" and not in support of the Forces for Freedom and Change. They explained in a joint statement that the processions are against what they described as a partnership of blood, and calls for its overthrow and the establishment of an undiminished national civil state.

A number of entities affiliated with the Forces for Freedom and Change- Central Council, Resistance Committees, professional associations, and trade unions announced that the demonstrations aim for a number of demands, most notably adherence to the Constitutional Document, handing over the presidency of the Sovereignty Council to civilians, reforming the security sector, among other demands.

Professional bodies

Eleven professional bodies, including the Sudan Doctors Central Committee and the Democratic Lawyers Alliance, called in a press conference at the headquarters of the Empowerment Removal Committee* in Khartoum on Wednesday, calling on the people to come out on November 21 in order to confront the undermining of the democratic transition. handing over the presidency of the Sovereignty Council to civilians, and handing over Al-Bashir and his aides to the International Criminal Court.

Mohmed Naji El Asam, leading member of the Sudan Doctors Central Committee (who announced the Declaration of Freedom and Peace on January 1, 2019 as representative of the Sudanese Professionals Association) called for a commitment to peace and not responding to attempts to provocation.

The Unified Doctors Bureau announced on Tuesday that the "White Army is ready for civil disobedience actions in case the military take over power".

Forces for Freedom and Change-Founding Platform

The Forces for Freedom and Change-Founding Platform under the leadership of rebel leaders Minni Minawi and Jibril Ibrahim which organised the current sit-in near the Republican Palace, determined the paths of the October 21 marches from various assembly points in the state of Khartoum towards the palace sit-in in order to restore the revolution.

In a press conference yesterday, Minawi called on the Sudanese people to go out in the October 21 marches to celebrate the National Day of Tolerance, and stressed that it should not be a day for bloodshed or people mobilising to preserve their chairs. He also called for a commitment to peace.

In a statement, the Justice and Equality Movement called on the Sudanese people to leave on Thursday, October 21, in order to consolidate the values of the revolution and to preserve its slogans.

The Communist Party of Sudan (CPoS) called on its members to come out in the October 21 million in order to protect and secure the revolution from military coups, build democratic civil authority, and continue to complete the tasks and goals of the revolution, recover it from its kidnappers, and form a government that expresses the goals of the revolution under full democratic civilian rule.

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-El Hilu) called on the Sudanese to come out in the October 21 million to support the democratic transition and achieve demands, including civilian police and security, building a single non-politicized professional national army, the return of displaced people and refugees to their areas of origin and retribution for the martyrs, as well as managing economic resources, especially gold, through civilian rule.

The Sudan Institute for Democracy called on all Sudanese to go out in the October 21 rallies in order to stop the military component's seizure of power and work to correct the wrong conditions.

The No to Women's Oppression Initiative called in a statement yesterday for peaceful marches for "a free, democratic and civilian Sudan". The women activists stated they hold the Sudanese authorities, and in particular the Khartoum state Security Committee "fully responsible" for the safety of the demonstrators.

On Wednesday, medical and health bodies also organised vigils in hospitals in Khartoum and the states in support of the democratic transition and civil rule, and called on all health cadres and citizens to participate in the October 21 marches.

US Embassy

The US Embassy in Khartoum called on protesters on October 21 to commit to peace, recalling the strong US support for the democratic transition in Sudan to achieve freedom, peace, and justice. In the statement, the embassy urged civilian and military leaders to work together in partnership to overcome their differences and take the necessary measures to implement the basic parameters of the constitutional declaration.

COVID-19 precautions

The federal Ministry of Health called on citizens to take precautions and caution during the October 21 marches, noting that the country during this period is witnessing a slight increase in COVID-19 infections. The Ministry called on the people to adhere to the health requirements followed by the Covid-19 pandemic, to adhere to social distancing as much as possible, to wear masks, and to drink water to avoid dehydration and reduce fatigue.

In the event of any dangers and events during the marches, people should phone the number 9090 to take the necessary directions. It also demanded an undisturbed transfer of cases that require health intervention to hospitals.

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