Sudan and Algeria: the presidents fall, the regime resists

After 30 and 20 years in power respectively, mobilizations overthrew Omar al-Bashir and Abdelaziz Buteflika. The army took power to protect the old regimes and the people are mobilized to throw them out.

In our web page you will find several articles on the new Arab revolutions, which we will update on this process.


Popular mobilizations began in December 2018 against a rise in the price of bread. The protests developed until April 6, when -coinciding with the celebration of the 34th anniversary of the 1985 revolts- thousand of Sudanese concentrated around the headquarters of the Armed Forces in Khartoum. Until that moment, the army had not intervened.

Anti-riot police tried to push the protesters away, causing deaths and injuries. Finally, the mobilization won and the security forces announced that they would not repress.

So the fall of the dictator Omar al-Bashir was sealed. It was 30 years of despotic power, of richness for a few and hunger for the great majorities, of corruption, submission and rapine of the IMF.

The former president was detained by the Army in the Presidential Palace. The people celebrated this achievement, which is not free from contradictions and dangers. The Army took over and implemented “emergency” measures: the suspension of the Constitution, the closing of the International Airport of Khartoum, the detention of of al-Bashir´s collaborators in the Islamic Movement headquarters, among others. According to general Awad Ibn Awf, they will govern for two years through a Transition Council.

It is a great paradox of reality: a military that was an essential part of the dictatorial regime for years, turned its back on its previous boss and took a power that did not belong to it.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change, which unites opposition parties and social groups, said in a statement: “this is a coup led by the regime to maintain power, they present the same faces that our people revolted against” and called to “continue with the sitting in front of the headquarters of the Armed Forces” and the protests in the rest of the country.

They also demand that power be given to a transitional civil government. “Those who destroyed the country and killed our people try to steal every drop of blood and sweat spilled by the Sudanese people in its revolution”.

The military government continued the repression that keeps causing death and injuries, while refusing to give up al-Bashir to be judged for his crimes against humanity.


The Chief of State, general Ahmed Gaid Salah, supported the dictatorship of Buteflika for a fifth mandate and criticized the mobilization. Yet he fell to the pressure of the streets, praised the “civility” of the pacific demonstrations, and on March 26, hepronounced himself in favor of disabling the president through Article 102 of the Constitution. The streets opposed that solution, since it would imply a transitional period of three months led by the regime itself.

Finally, on April 2, Abdelaziz Buteflika fell, after powerful mobilizations and strikes impeded his fifth mandate and sent him home. Albdelkáder Bensalá (president of the Senate for the last 17 years) took over as interim president. Thousands of students mobilized against him.

Gaid Salah has been clear when it came to clarify the position of the Army in his speech, saying that it is “unreasonable” to manage the transition without the current institutions, which are rejected by the mobilization. The presidential elections that were going to be held on April 18 were moved to July 4.

The speech and the announcement of the new election date were rejected on the same day by thousands of people mobilized in Alger, Bouira and Tlemcen. The people do not think that the interim president and the chief of the Army can guarantee the transparency of the transitional process because they are the same people that, for twenty years, validated the four presidencies of Buteflika. We can expect even less from the interference of French president Emmanuel Macron, the first defender of Buteflika and then promoter of a long transition.

The mobilized people have perceived the tramp in which they want to make them fall, in the streets people sing “regime, go away!” and reject Gaid Salah, who has announced his next step in an intimidatory way: a “declaration of a state of exception”. The regime wants to continue, the people want to bury it.

New notes

In Sudan and Algeria, the new rising of the people smells like Arab spring, and so far has overthrown two governments, which did not happen the last time around.

In both cases, independent mobilizations, strikes and actions on the streets have once again shown their effectiveness against the lies of the prevailing power, which has lasted for decades, as well as against the repression of the Army and police forces.

The resolution of the mass movement is heroic, even in dreadful social and political conditions, so the last word has yet to be said. The sustained mobilization constitutes democratic revolutions that challenge the government, the regime and the capitalist system.

At the same time, there is a political drama that is repeated: the absence of a coherent and revolutionary leadership, recognized and respected by the mass movement. It is a vacuum that is filled by other political leaderships or, as in the case of Algeria and Sudan, the military and government staff that supported the overthrown government for decades.

Once the government has fallen, they regroup to maintain the old dictatorial and corrupt regime, trying to stop the aspirations of the mass movement to also sweep away the oppressive regimes that starve them and sink them in absolute misery under the orders of the usurer international organisms. They are weak regimes in the sense that they have just received an historical blow, but they turn to repression and traps to save themselves. We will see if they can do it.

For so many years they have reelected themselves through rigged elections that they do not want to even give in to the most essential demand for immediate and transparent elections. When the smoke screen of democracy falls, the military takes over. Choosing a different president is not enough, we must defeat the regime so the people can freely debate and decide their economic, social and political destiny, through a free and sovereign constituent assembly.

However, the first step is raising the greatest international solidarity with the struggling people and, in that path, building new combative and democratic leaderships. It is an essential task to build revolutionary socialist parties to fight for radical measures in favor the great majorities.

Rubén Tzanoff