Sudan: between barricades and checkpoints, Khartoum paralyzed by a general strike

A crowd gathered in Khartoum (Sudan) on October 25, 2021, the day of the military coup.


Text by: RFI Follow

4 min

In Sudan, the call for a general strike launched by unions and popular resistance committees after the coup d'état of Monday, October 25 seems to be widely followed.

The capital Khartoum was completely at a standstill on Tuesday and demonstrations took place in several provincial towns.

Despite the restrictions on the telephone network, supporters of passive resistance are beginning to organize.

On the side of the allies of the military, it is silence.

Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has been taken home.


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With our correspondent in Khartoum,

Eliott Brachet

We could only get around on foot in Khartoum on Tuesday, the day after the military coup.

At each major intersection, we find either squads of soldiers mounted on pick-ups or barricades of bricks and burnt tires bristling with protesters, preventing vehicles from entering many areas of the city center, as well as 'Omdurman, the twin city of the capital, across the Nile.

The soldiers of the regular army, meanwhile, were discreet, holding only strategic points, especially around the army headquarters where most of Monday's murderous repression took place.

► Read also: The Sudanese refuse the coup d'etat in the street, the international community is putting pressure


The resistance committees are organized,"

explains Abdelkhalik, member of the Taef resistance committee. 

Many barricades were erected as there were several attacks from the Rapid Support Forces.

Each time, they destroy them and we rebuild them.

These young people who keep them have been there since 6 am, and will stay until midnight, in all the neighborhoods.


Call to strike launched from mosques

As the phones do not work, the elders of the 2019 revolution are trying to organize other channels of communication, says a source close to the resistance committees. Calls to strike have started to come through mosque loudspeakers, for example. " 

The slogan is to organize resistance from below,"

continues this source, "

to hold his neighborhood until further notice.


This Tuesday evening the internet was restored and then suspended again. This computer science student is glued to his phone. “ 

We received a lot of videos when the network was restored. It was found that the army had carried out acts of torture targeting students and young people in particular. So when Burhan in his speech says that he acts in the interest of the youth, it is to seduce the media. But we are not fooled by this game.


Most of the businesses were closed with the iron curtains drawn.

The Operation Dead City wanted by the unions and the popular resistance committees seemed to be widely followed.

In the provinces, the activists who managed to connect to the internet evoke similar operations underway in the workers' city of Atbara, in Port-Sudan, Dongola, El-Obeid, Kosti and even in Nyala, in South Darfur. 

The resistance committees are calling for a march of the million next Saturday.

This evening, violence is to be feared.

On the way back we could already hear many ambulance sirens.

Bejas support General al-Burhan

On the military side, for the moment it is silence.

Only General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sovereign Council of the Transition, 



He notably mentioned the fate of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, who was brought home - he had been held since Monday at the Khartoum strongman.

What support does the head of the army have to carry out his coup?

On the side of the general's allies, no reactions.

Only the head of the large Bejas community -

which has been blocking the east of the country for a month

- officially supported the army chief. 

A particularly surprising silence: that of number 2 of the Sovereign Council, General Hemeti.

At the head of the Rapid Support Forces, he has not spoken for several days.

He had recently opposed civilians and soldiers alike by refusing to integrate his men into the army, as they demanded.

Also silent, Gibril Ibrahim, a rebel leader turned finance minister, as well as Mini Minawi, recent governor of Darfur.

These two influential Darfuri figures, who had supported the 2019 revolution, recently broke with the civil coalition and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

Nothing at this stage allows us to know their opinion on the coup.

But according to a researcher, their movements are very divided, especially on a possible collaboration with the army.

Then there are the lower-ranking soldiers: will they support their leader and agree to lead the repression against the demonstrators as in 2019?

On the other hand, General Burhan could count on the important network of the intelligence services - led at the time by

Salah Gosh

, now in exile.


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  • Sudan

  • Abdallah Hamdok

  • Abdel Fattah al-Burhan