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Inside the battle for Sudan: ‘Hamdok has lost the street’With politicians now barred from government

In the early hours of October 25, security forces showed up at the residence of Sudanese prime minister Abdalla Hamdok in the capital Khartoum.

They said “there is a change, you will be staying under house arrest”, Hamdok recalled in an interview with the Financial Times about the military coup that knocked Sudan’s democratic transition off course and sparked global outrage.

More than a month later, the soft-spoken economist has been reinstated through what he called a “workable agreement” with the army to avoid “a catastrophic situation”. Dozens have been killed in mass protests against the military takeover. But far from quelling anger at the coup, Hamdok’s deal with the generals jeopardises support for the technocrat.

Although protests have lost some of their intensity since the agreement was inked, “the streets are saying ‘there’s no bargaining, no negotiating, no military in government’”, said Duaa Tariq, co-founder of CivicLab, which promotes civil and political rights. “Hamdok has lost the street. He has lost a historic chance to get the people on his side.”

Signed on November 21 by Hamdok and Abdel Fattah Burhan, Sudan’s top general and the coup leader, the pact restored the civilian element of the country’s transitional government, supposedly paving the way for elections in July 2023. The 14-point plan falls short of the agreement that brought both men to power during the 2019 revolution as part of a hybrid government. Under that agreement, the military and civilians shared power after the fall of longstanding dictator Omar al-Bashir.

Under the deal signed by Abdalla Hamdok, the military has tightened its grip on Sudan © Andres Schipani/FT