THE SUDANESE military regime has once again shown its contempt for any real peace talks in the country, and its confidence that since it has the support of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the key allies of the western imperialist powers in the region, it can do anything it wants, and literally get away with mass murder.
No sooner had the Ethiopian Prime Minister left the country in a situation where the African Union had already suspended the Sudan, the military moved to attack the workers, and savagely beat and arrest Sudanese bank, airport and electricity workers early on Sunday morning, just ahead of the launching of a general strike that the trade unions had called.
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) confirmed yesterday that workers were under heavy attack from the military regime of the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC). Pro-democracy campaigners had already said, before the Ahmed talks, that the military council could not be trusted, citing last Monday’s mass murder of up to 100 workers who were taking part in a sit-in strike in Khartoum.
However, offices and businesses, and workplaces across the the capital have now been occupied. There are also reports of gunfire as security forces seek to impose a reign of terror across the city. The protest leaders are now urging workers to stay at home and not to work and are saying that demonstrations are no longer possible because of the violent crackdown and savagery of the military.
However, the workers’ leaders are still insisting that the strike and occupation movement will only end when a civilian government replaces the military regime.
Meanwhile, the opposition politician Mohamed Esmat was detained on Friday as soon as his meeting with Ethiopia’s PM Ahmed concluded, his aides said. Ismail Jalab, a leader of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) group, and his spokesman Mubarak Ardol were also arrested early on Saturday.
This was the immediate response of the military regime to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s attempt to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table.
On Wednesday, the SPLM-N said its deputy head, Yasir Arman, had already been arrested at his house in Khartoum. Esmat and Jalab are both leading members of the Alliance for Freedom and Change, an umbrella organisation of opposition figures, protest leaders and rebel groups. ‘This amounts to a practical response from the military council that effectively rejects the Ethiopian prime minister’s mediation effort,’ Khalid Omar Yousef, an opposition alliance leader correctly said.
The TMC military are being emboldened because the US and UK’s allies in the region, that is Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt are demanding that the uprising be crushed and egging the Sudanese military to commit bigger outrages to defeat the revolution in the Sudan, before it spreads to Libya, Egypt, the Arabian peninsula and the Gulf States.
The Gulf States are pouring billions of dollars into supplies for the Sudanese military so that it can confront the revolution. Opposition activists say the feared paramilitary unit, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), killed 108 people in the crackdown, with at least 40 bodies pulled from the River Nile in Khartoum last Tuesday. The RSF, formerly known as the Janjaweed militia, gained notoriety for brutal atrocities in the Darfur conflict in western Sudan in 2003.
A number of women arrested by the RSF said they were repeatedly beaten with sticks and threatened with execution. They said RSF troops told them to run for their lives, then opened fire. Other victims, they said, were forced to drink sewage water and were urinated on.
On Thursday, the African Union suspended Sudan’s membership ‘with immediate effect’ and warned of further action if power was not transferred to a civilian authority. The Sudanese workers and youth are showing immense courage with their determination to defeat the Sudanese military and to have a civilian government that can only rule as a workers government.
The powerful trade unions of the UK, the EU and the US cannot allow the Sudanese workers to fight alone against these massive odds and must give them full support. They must organise political strike actions to force the US and UK governments to stop arming Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, and they must collect millions of pounds and dollars to purchase arms for the Sudanese workers.
The trade unions must also demand that the UK Labour Party must pledge that it will stop selling arms to the Saudis and the Gulf states when it becomes the government and that it must recognise immediately the leadership of the Sudanese trade unions as the government of the Sudan. This is the way forward to win the workers struggle in the Sudan and to put an end to the reactionary feudal regimes in the Gulf.