On 19 December 2018, a series of demonstrations broke out in several Sudanese cities, due in part to rising costs of living and deterioration of economic conditions at all levels of society. The protests quickly turned from demands for urgent economic reforms into demands for President Omar al-Bashir to step down.
The violence of the government's reaction to these peaceful demonstrations sparked international concern. On 22 February 2019, al-Bashir declared a state of emergency and dissolved the national and regional governments, replacing the latter with military and intelligence-service officers. On 8 March, al-Bashir announced that all of the women jailed for protesting against the government would be released. On the weekend of 6–7 April, there were massive protests for the first time since the declaration of the state of emergency. On 10 April, soldiers were seen shielding protesters from security forces, and on 11 April, the military removed al-Bashir from power in a coup d'état.
Following al-Bashir's removal from power, street protests organized by the Sudanese Professionals Association and democratic opposition groups continued, calling on the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) to "immediately and unconditionally" step aside in favor of a civilian-led transitional government, and urging other reforms in Sudan. Negotiations between the TMC and the civilian opposition to form a joint transition government took place during late April and in May, but stopped when the Rapid Support Forces and other TMC security forces killed 128 people, raped 70 and injured others in the Khartoum massacre on 3 June.
Opposition groups responded to the massacre and post-massacre arrests by carrying out a 3-day general strike from 9–11 June and calling for sustained civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance until the TMC transfers power to a civilian government. On 12 June the opposition agreed to stop the strike and the TMC agreed to free political prisoners.
After renewed negotiations, a deal, called the Political Agreement, was agreed verbally between the TMC and the civilian protesters represented by the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) on 5 July 2019 and a written form of the agreement was signed by the TMC and FFC on 17 July. The TMC and FFC announced that they would share power to run Sudan via executive and legislative institutions and a judicial investigation of post-coup events, including the Khartoum massacre, until elections occur in mid-2022. The Political Agreement was complemented by the Draft Constitutional Declaration, which was initially signed by the FFC and the TMC on 4 August 2019 and signed more formally on 17 August. The transition plan creates the Sovereignty Council as head of state, with a mixed civilian–military composition and leadership to be transferred from a military leader to a civilian leader 21 months after the transitional period begins, for a total 39-month transition period leading into elections.
The TMC was dissolved and the mostly male Sovereignty Council was created on 20 August 2019. Abdalla Hamdok was appointed Prime Minister on 21 August 2019. The Transitional Cabinet, with four female and 14 male civilian ministers and 2 male military ministers, was announced in early September. A "comprehensive peace process" between the Sudanese state and armed opposition groups was scheduled to start on 1 September 2019. Nemat Abdullah Khair was appointed as Sudan's first female Chief Justice on 10 October. Street protests continued during the transitionary period.