2018–19 Sudanese protests

Sudanese protests (2018–19)
Part of Arab World protests (2018–19)
Sudanese protestors chanting.jpg
Protesters in Khartoum in front of the Sudanese Army headquarters
Date19 December 2018 (2018-12-19) – ongoing
(3 months, 4 weeks and 2 days)
Caused by
Resulted in
  • Imposition of a state of emergency for one year, and reducing it for six months by the Legislative Council
  • Dissolution of the central and regional governments, formation of a new government
  • Postponement of constitutional amendments relating to the extension of the term of Omar al-Bashir, without cancelling his candidacy for another term[2][3]
  • Military takes control in coup d'état, Bashir overthrown[4]
  • Protesters demand immediate transition to a civilian government, protests continue.
  • Dismissal of Omar al-Bashir
  • Junta leader and de facto head of state Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf steps down after protests, transferring power to Burhan.
Parties to the civil conflict

Different groups of civil movements and individual people


Lead figures
Non-centralized leadership

Dec. 2018 – Apr. 2019
Omar al-Bashir
President of Sudan

Mohamed Tahir Ayala
Prime Minister

Motazz Moussa
Prime Minister

Mohammed Hamdan Dalgo (Hemaidttie)
Head of the Rapid Support Forces

Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf
Sudanese Minister of Defense

Salah Mohammed Abdullah (Gosh)
Head of National Intelligence and Security Service

Apr. 2019 – present
Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf
Chairman of the Transitional Military Council (April 11–12)

Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan
Chairman of the Transitional Military Council (April 12–)

On December 19, 2018, a series of demonstrations broke out in several Sudanese cities, due in part to spiraling costs of living and deterioration of economic conditions at all levels of society.[6] The protests quickly turned from demands for urgent economic reforms into demands for Omar al-Bashir to step down.[7][8]

The violence of the government's reaction to these peaceful demonstrations sparked international concern. On 22 February, al-Bashir declared a state of emergency and dissolved the national and regional governments, replacing the latter with military and intelligence-service officers.[9] On 8 March, al-Bashir announced that all of the women jailed for protesting against the government would be released.[10] On the weekend of 6–7 April, there were massive protests for the first time since the declaration of the state of emergency.[5] On 10 April, soldiers were seen shielding protesters from security forces,[11] and on 11 April, the military removed al-Bashir from power in a coup d'état.


In January 2018, large protests started on the streets of Khartoum, Sudan's capital, in opposition to the rising prices of the basic goods including bread. The protests grew quickly and found support from different opposition parties. Youth and women's movements also joined the protests.[12]

The Sudanese government started austerity measures recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF),[13] including devaluation of the local currency, as well as the removal of wheat and electricity subsidies. Sudan's economy has struggled since Omar al-Bashir's ascent to power, but became increasingly turbulent following the secession of South Sudan in 2011, which, up until then, had represented an important source of foreign currency, because of its oil output.[13][14] The devaluation of the Sudanese pound in October 2018 led to wildly fluctuating exchange rates and a shortage of cash in circulation.[14] Long queues for basic goods such as petrol, bread, as well as cash from ATMs are a common sight. Sudan has around 70% inflation, second only to Venezuela.[14]

In August 2018, the National Congress party backed Omar Al-Bashir's 2020 presidential run, despite his increasing unpopularity and his previous declaration that he would not run in the upcoming elections.[15] These measures led to rising opposition from within the party calling for respect of the constitution, which currently prevents Al-Bashir from being reelected. Sudanese activists reacted on social media and called for a campaign against his nomination.[15]

Al-Bashir has ruled the country since 1989. He came to power by leading a coup against the elected, but increasingly unpopular, prime minister of the time, Sadiq al-Mahdi.[16] The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted Al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the western region of Darfur.[17]