Military-aligned demonstrators cut off major roads and bridges in Sudan's capital Khartoum as ties between the military and civilians in the ruling government sour.
Pro-military protesters have briefly blocked major roads and bridges in Sudan’s capital amid growing tensions between the generals and the pro-democracy movement.
In an escalation on Sunday, pro-military demonstrators cut off major roads and bridges, including the Nile Street and Mec Nimr Bridge, according to activist and rights defender Tahani Abbas.
“What is happening ... is an official coup sponsored by Burhan,” she said.
Later in the day, security forces dispersed the protesters using tear gas to open the blocked roads. Video on social media purportedly showed protesters fleeing over the bridge and on Nile Street.
The current crisis surfaced with a coup attempt in September, with protests raging in the country since.
Officials blamed al Bashir loyalists for the move. But the generals lashed out at the civilian part of the government, accusing politicians of seeking government posts rather than helping ease people’s economic suffering.
Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, the head of the ruling Sovereign Council, said that dissolving the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok could resolve the ongoing political crisis.
The souring ties between the military and civilians in the ruling government threaten Sudan’s fragile transition to democracy since the military’s ouster of al Bashir and his government in April 2019 after nearly three decades of rule.
The developments have aroused fears among civilians that the military may eventually hijack the country’s transition to civilian rule.
Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets of Khartoum and elsewhere in the country on Thursday.
Pro-military protesters rallied in Khartoum earlier this month, echoing Burhan’s demands. The protesters have since held a sit-in outside the presidential palace in the capital.
Last week, they attempted to storm the Cabinet headquarters as the Prime Minister met with his Cabinet. Security forces dispersed them using tear gas.
On Saturday, dozens of pro-military protesters stormed the reception area of the headquarters of the country’s state-run news agency and set tires ablaze outside the agency offices.
The tensions come weeks ahead of a scheduled rotation of the leadership on the ruling sovereign council from the military to civilians, according to the constitutional declaration that established the joint government in August 2019.