The so-called “resistance committees” appeared in the streets of Sudan as a main driver behind the recent demonstrations, which makes them a difficult number in the political equation today.
After 30 years of monopolizing power, the “resistance” committees in the neighborhoods and cities made the password that brought down the regime of President Omar al-Bashir, but as soon as these committees surfaced, the arrows of the “deep state” captured them.
1989: With the arrival of Al-Bashir to power through a military coup, the idea of ”resistance committees” appeared in the neighborhoods as a proposal at the time by the Communist Party in 1990.
– These committees were associated at that time with a political organization (the Communist Party) in light of the political narrowing phase until the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, which provided a relative climate for political action and freedom of expression, which continued until the preparations for the 2010 general elections.
May 14, 2010: After talking about the seriousness of the secession of the south of the country, the “Girfna” movement, which consisted of a small group of young people inside and outside Sudan, emerged through social media.
2012: Civil disobedience committees, to which the youth movements “Grifna, the Sudanese Front for Change” participated, appeared before the secession of the south, and established a Facebook page called “The Political Forum”.
2016: The idea of the so-called civil disobedience committees returned again on a large scale, against the backdrop of the authorities’ attempts to implement austerity measures such as liberalizing the price of the customs dollar for medicines.
– 2017: The masses began to recognize the name of the “resistance committees” associated with limited protests linked to residential neighborhoods, in addition to addresses in public places such as markets and neighborhood gatherings, and the authorities confronted them with arrests and shaving their heads.
Against Al-Bashir’s rule
December 2018: Thousands of neighborhood committees in the capital, Khartoum and the rest of the states managed the protest movement from underground, until the overthrow of Al-Bashir in April 2019.
– After the fall of the regime, the “resistance committees” continued their activities to pressure the Transitional Military Council, which inherited the Bashir regime at the time, and surrounded it with processions, demonstrations and sit-ins.
June 3, 2019: After the military dispersed a sit-in in the vicinity of the Army General Command, in an operation in which at least 100 people were killed and hundreds were injured, according to human rights organizations reports, the effectiveness of the committees doubled.
June 9, 2019: The young Walid Abdel Rahman Saadabi, a prominent activist in the “resistance committee”, was shot dead by snipers in the auction district of Khartoum North, when he was directing the barricades youth on the first days of civil disobedience.
June 30, 2019: The committees succeeded in organizing a million people that turned the scales in favor of the civil state, in return for its militarization planned by the Military Council.
– The millionaires, and the subsequent revolutionary movement, forced the military to submit to popular desires and enter into a partnership with civilians, in which the military’s powers do not exceed the maintenance of security and some honorary and sovereign tasks through their membership in the Transitional Sovereignty Council.
September 2019: After the formation of the transitional government, some leaders of these committees appeared in public after they were wanted by the security forces. Some of them even died, with suspicions that they had been deliberately liquidated.
– The “Change and Services Committees” formed by the Resistance Committees were active in practicing their activities in the neighborhoods, but they immediately faced a counter-campaign from the “Dignity Committees” that were active only on the cyberspace.
– The “resistance committees” felt marginalized and were excluded from the institutions of the transitional period, but they were not able to monitor the partnership and constantly demand to stop the military’s intrusion on executive powers.
– The committees have stressed on more than one occasion the importance of completing the structures of the transitional authority, such as the Transitional Legislative Council (Parliament) and ensuring its large representation in it.
– The committees lobbied hard for the purpose of achieving transitional justice stipulated in the constitutional document, including retribution for the victims of the Sudanese revolution.
A: It has repeatedly adhered to its statements and most of its actions to reforming the military and security institutions and building a single national army with a single doctrine, in which there is no place for parallel militias.
– Local officials responded, using reports to the “resistance committees” in some neighborhoods, which began to change the names of schools and hospitals and continue their work, as happened in the Martyr Ali Abdel Fattah Hospital in the Darushab suburb north of Khartoum.
Federal Minister of Governance, Youssef Adam Al-Dhai, was forced to issue directives to organize the work of the committees for change and services, which will be called the “Freedom and Change” forces – which led the revolutionary movement – to manage services in neighborhoods, villages and markets.
– Citizens complained of operations attributed to the “resistance committees”, which consisted of raiding local offices, schools, universities and hospitals, and collecting fees without receipts.
– Citizens in the administrative quarter unit in Gezira state called out, stating that the resistance committees imposed 50 pounds on each bag of flour.
Khartoum includes 1,781 “resistance committees” spread in all districts of the state.
– The Berri neighborhood, near the center of Khartoum, was an inspiring stronghold of the resignation processions, which on April 6, 2019 turned into a sit-in in front of the army command.
– 2020: After the division that occurred within the Professionals Association, the dynamo of the revolutionary movement, the “resistance committees” found themselves at the fore in the revolutionary movement once again.
February 29, 2021: Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok met with some components of the “resistance committees” in Khartoum, and some pushed the idea of forming a “resistance party” to participate in the executive authority to support the efforts of a political settlement for the military component.
October 25, 2021: Sudan witnessed protests, and the “resistance committees” led the revolutionary movement in the street, rejecting measures taken by Al-Burhan on the same day, which included declaring a state of emergency, dissolving the Sovereignty Councils and the Transitional Ministers, and dismissing Hamdok, after the arrest of party leaders and officials, among measures I described. Political forces as a “military coup”.
– November 29, 2021: The Resistance Committees’ coordination announced their rejection of the recent political agreement between the military leaders and Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok.
December 3, 2021: Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission, Volker Peretz, invites representatives of the Resistance Committees to a joint meeting to obtain their views on the latest developments in the country.
– The committees announced their acceptance of the invitation, but requested that the meeting be broadcast directly on the media committees’ platforms, which was rejected by the UN mission.
December 5, 2021: The Resistance Committees announced that their meeting with the head of the United Nations Integrated Mission, Volker Peretz, did not take place, and handed him a memorandum of their position rejecting the recent political agreement between Al-Burhan and Hamdok.
– There are old committees formed since and before the September 2013 protests, such as the Berri Committee formed since 2008, and newer committees formed after the recent protests.
The organizational structure of the “resistance committees” is based on the one-neighborhood committee that coordinates through personal contacts with the committees in the neighboring neighborhoods.
The district committees, such as the “resistance committees” of Khartoum east, the committees of Al-Kalalat and Abu Adam, Jabra, south of the belt, all in Khartoum, the Bahri, East Nile and Kadru committees in Bahri city, the committees of Karari, Ambadat and Omdurman old in Omdurman, and the arrangement and coordination were circulated spontaneously. Same in the rest of the big cities.
The tactics of the “resistance committees” depend on a great deal of secrecy and the distribution of tasks for the processions and demonstrations, and a group of young people are asked to secure the processions by setting up barricades that make it difficult for the police and other security services to reach, and the task of another group is to prepare the flags and paper and cloth banners.
– A third group directs the procession to the respective path, and even the woman who has to sing a shriek for the procession or demonstration is predetermined.
The committees depend for all their equipment on personal donations from members and residents of the relevant neighborhood.
– Over time, divisions emerged within some committees in the neighborhoods, some of which reached the courts, as happened within the Maamoura neighborhood committee, east of Khartoum.
-According to followers, there are attempts to infiltrate the committees by a number of parties, whether the military component and its civilian followers, or from the remnants of the former regime, or from other political parties wishing to exploit the “resistance committees” to advance a political agenda.
Most of the differences within the committees are between affiliates of the Communist Party and the Sudanese Congress, and to some extent the Federal Gathering.
There is a difference between neighborhood committees, which practice service activities instead of the people’s committees of the previous regime, and resistance committees, which are supervisory bodies in neighborhoods, villages, and markets, and have an organizational connection to the leadership of the ruling coalition.
The “resistance committees” raise the slogan of the three nos, “no partnership, no negotiation, no bargaining (with the army)” and it means that the people have completely lost confidence in the negotiation process between the civil and military components and the partnership between them and accept the legitimacy of the existing military rule.