Minnesota answers Sudanese people’s call for solidarity
Rally in solidarity with the Sudanese people on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. | Wayne Nealis / People's World

PAUL, Minn.—Last weekend, the Sudanese community in Minnesota rallied at the state capitol here to protest the coup carried out by Sudan’s military leaders Oct. 25. Rally participants responded to the call of the Sudanese diaspora to act in solidarity with those protesting on the streets of the capital Khartoum and cities across Sudan. Rallies were also held in numerous countries and U.S. cities on Oct. 30, including a rally attended by thousands in Washington, D.C.

Addressing the estimated 150 attendees in Minnesota, attorney Ismail Hussein said, “The Sudanese people are determined to keep peacefully protesting and fighting their just fight…to achieve freedom, democracy, and justice.”

The voices of Hussein and other speakers echoed with solidarity and pride in their fellow citizens on the streets of their homeland. This was most evident in speeches by several young Sudanese and the words of two local Sudanese poets.

Reports from Sudan are limited, as the coup leaders have shut down phone and internet services. Still, People’s World was afforded an opportunity to speak with someone in Khartoum that a Sudanese contact attending the rally reached by WhatsApp. The person, who will go unnamed to protect his identity, said that the “situation is extremely tense.” They added that it “could go either way,” alluding to whether the people or the military will win the battle taking place on the streets.

For weeks, rumors had mounted that a coup was being prepared as deadlines approached that would extend civilian rule. Protesters said they were dismayed but not surprised by the coup led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan. The military wing of the fragile civilian-military council removed and detained its civilian counterparts, headed by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. The council arose in the aftermath of an uprising in 2019 that ended the 30-year dictatorship and Islamist government of President Omar al-Bashir.

According to an Oct. 28 article by Mohammed Abu Obaid on the website The Conversation, much of Sudan’s economy is owned or controlled by its military leaders. He suggested these officials were worried that the civilian coalition backing democratization and demanding civilian oversight of the military could put their holdings in jeopardy. With civilian rule, military officials could also face charges related to the violent suppression of the 2019 uprising in which hundreds of people were killed by the armed forces.

Speakers and protest signs at the Minnesota rally demanded Al-Burhan and other military leaders be held accountable for the 2019 atrocities and for the coup.

Al Jazeera reported Sunday that seven days after the coup, tens of thousands of protesters continued to pour into the streets each day and that 11 people had been killed and an unknown number injured and detained.

Attorney Ismail Hussein speaks at the St. Paul rally. | Wayne Nealis / People’s World

Hussein also condemned regional nations supporting the coup leaders and demanded these nations stop interfering in Sudan’s internal affairs. According to media reports, this includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—all of which are U.S. allies. A few days before the coup, the Biden administration sent Jeffrey Feldman, U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, to Sudan ostensibly to dissuade the military leaders from acting. Feldman was evidently unpersuasive.

Russia has also been implicated in signaling a green light to coup leaders. Since the ouster of al-Bashir in 2019, Sudanese and Russian military leaders have cultivated stronger ties. Reportedly, Russia’s response is an effort to counter what it considered growing U.S. influence on the civilian side of the transitional government.

A press statement issued by the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Sudanese Communist Party the morning of the coup called upon “all the forces that stand with the civil authority to declare a political strike and civil disobedience until this coup is defeated.” The party also appealed for international solidarity with the people of Sudan to overturn the coup and return the nation on the path toward democratic civilian rule.


> Military coup in Sudan, Communists warn of ‘onslaught’ against democratic forces

> After Sudan army shoots protesters dead, Communists declare: ‘Revolution until victory’


Wayne Nealis
Wayne Nealis

Wayne Nealis is a left political activist and writer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, focusing on communications and strategies for social change. He was a toolmaker and union activist in a Minnesota industrial union. Nealis earned a degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota and practiced journalism and public and media relations.