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Algeria and Sudan: New Chapters of Arab Revolt

posted on: Jun 7, 2019

Algeria and Sudan: New Chapters of Arab Revolt

SOURCE: FRANCE 24

The Arab world is again being rocked by revolt, with uprisings in Algeria and Sudan seeing long-time leaders ousted, although in both the military has frustrated popular demands for change.

A first wave of revolt in 2011 caused shock waves across many Arab countries, starting in Tunisia where president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted in January after 23 years in power.

While Tunisia has since been able to transition to democracy, the results in other countries is bleak.

In Egypt, where mass uprisings forced Hosni Mubarak to quit in February 2011 after ruling for almost three decades, power has settled in the hands of former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, accused of repression.

Other countries caught up in the 2011 “Arab Spring”, such as Libya, Syria and Yemen, have descended into civil war and chaos.

Here is a summary of main events in the new Arab world uprisings in Algeria and Sudan.

– Algeria –

Unprecedented demonstrations erupt in February 2019 after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika says he is planning to stand for a fifth term in upcoming elections.

In his 80s, weakened after a stroke in 2013 and rarely seen in public, the wheelchair-bound Bouteflika has been in power since 1999.

As protests grow to demand he step aside, army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah on March 10 pledges that the military shares the “values and principles” of the people.

It is a turning point, with Gaid Salah among those considered loyal to Bouteflika. Two weeks later he demands the president quits or be declared medically unfit to rule.

On April 2 Gaid Salah demands impeachment proceedings against Bouteflika. Abandoned by his loyal supporters, the president submits his resignation hours later.

But Algerians continue to protest, demanding the departure of the entire ruling system, including Gaid Salah who has become the country’s powerbroker.

They reject plans for a presidential election in July, saying Algeria’s institutions are too tarnished by corruption to guarantee a legitimate vote.

There are massive demonstrations in the capital on May 31, for a 15th consecutive Friday and despite a spate of arrests and detentions.

“No elections with this gang in power,” the crowd shouts.

The constitutional council says on June 2 that a July election would be impossible as only two people had submitted their candidature and both were rejected.

– Sudan –

Protests in December against a hike in bread prices quickly grow into rolling demonstrations for Omar al-Bashir to quit after three decades of iron-fisted rule.

On February 22, Bashir declares a nationwide state of emergency.

But the protests grow and on April 6 thousands set up camp outside the army headquarters in Khartoum, some taking inspiration from Bouteflika’s ouster days earlier.

On April 11, military authorities announce they have removed Bashir and that a transitional military council will govern for two years.

Protesters denounce a “military coup” and demand civilian rule.

Talks between protest leaders and military rulers appear to make headway but break down on May 20 over the composition of a transitional authority.

Protesters maintain pressure on the ruling military council, with demonstrations and a major strike on May 28-29.

In late May military council chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan visits Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, both firmly against popular uprisings, as he seeks regional support.

On June 3, troops and paramilitaries disperse the protest camp outside the army HQ with force, leaving more than 100 dead, according to the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors that is close to the demonstrators.

On June 5, protest leaders turn down a military council offer for elections and talks.