The March of Millions- A Movement for Change in Sudan

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Image source: Radio Dabanga 

Darfur Women Action Group express concern about the use of violence by Transitional Military Council (TMC) against peaceful protesters. We call on the United States and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to support the Sudanese peoples’ demands for civilian government and  that the TMC – led by two genocidaires also responsible of crimes committed in Darfur – be held accountable.

Sunday June 30th marked the 30-year anniversary of Omar al Bashir’s coup that brought his bloody regime to power. Across Sudan, nearly a million protesters took to the streets, reinvigorating their peaceful calls for civilian led government in the country. The March of Millions is the first large-scale public demonstration since the brutal massacre of June 3rd, where the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) killed 128 unarmed civilians. 

The March of Millions stood as a symbol of strength – despite the expectations of violence from the TMC, the people of Sudan  continued to fight for their freedom. The march also served to commemorate those who lost their lives at the hands of the RSF, the 128 who died while doing nothing more than calling for medeniya – civilian rule. Protesters now call on the TMC and the international community to meet their demands, now known as the Sudan Six:

  1. An immediate handover of power to a civilian government
  2. A withdrawal of RSF and paramilitary groups from the cities
  3. An international independent investigation into the June 3 massacre
  4. Aid for the victims of government attacks on unarmed civilians
  5. Release of all political prisoners
  6. An end to the internet blackout

Vigils were held around Sudan in the days leading up to the march. Simultaneously, the Sudanese diaspora organized parallel protests in various western capitals including Washington DC, New York, Paris and other multiple cities within the United States. The biggest was in Paris: thousands of Sudanese joined by Africans from Cameroon and Algeria stood in support of the Sudanese demands for change. In Khartoum, opposition movements planning the protest filed legal requests for protection and security during their march; they knew the RSF was more than willing to use violence to squash their voices. While the march circled around to the houses of the June 3rd victims, they were again forced to face the RSF. 

So far, seven protesters have died and over 181 are reported injured – some severely.

The RSF used tear gas, live ammunition, and stun grenades against those involved in the march. They blocked roads and bridges, impeding the lawful right of civilians to protest. In a statement prior to the march, Hemeti announced that any and all deaths and damages will be blamed on protesters. Further, the TMC has yet to restore internet access in the country after a month long blackout. Despite his threat and his attempts to stop the march’s success, protesters were still able to mobilize across the country.

The TMC, and most notably their de facto leader Hemeti, have said over and over that they do not want power. However, the reality of their actions proves otherwise. Credible news broke stating that “Hemeti signed a $6 million lobbying contract” with a Canadian firm to legitimize his stolen and undeserving position of power. The firm is offering him military training and security equipment, infrastructure and food security support from Russia, and monetary support from a Libyan general in exchange for Sudanese military assistance. These are the actions of someone with aspirations of continuing Bashir’s autocratic regime – not the actions of a man who wants to deliver ruling  of the country to civilians.

DWAG strongly demands an end to the suffering in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile. Criminal accountability for the leaders of the TMC must be prioritized to ensure sustainable change in Sudan.

We recognize the strong leadership demonstrated by the African Union to hold the TMC accountable and promote civilians’ rule in Sudan. We call on the United States to take effective measures to do the same: to hold the TMC accountable and guarantee a peaceful transfer of power to civilian government in Sudan.

 We call on our supporters to use their voices. We must demand our leaders in the US and elsewhere speak up and hold the notorious TMC accountable. You can join us by sharing on social media or by writing to you representative or your local media asking them to bring the plight of the people of Sudan to light.