Sudan’s military coup can be summed up in a cartoon

The cartoon shows Sudan’s Defense Minister sitting in the chair from which he addressed the nation on state TV to explain the military’s takeover of the country.

But this time Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf is flanked by intelligence chief Salah Abdallah Gosh and Mohammed Hamdan Dogolo, aka “Hemeti,” the head of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, with Omar Bashir, the dictator ousted in Thursday’s coup, peeking over the top of the chair.

Khalid Albaih, the Sudanese artist and political cartoonist who drew the image and shared it on Facebook and Twitter, told CNN he wanted to send a message to the military leaders: “Thank you for protecting the people and doing your job. Now let the people do their job.”

This is a view shared by many in the Sudanese diaspora who are afraid of the consequences for constitutional civil rights and freedoms after a military council dissolved the government, suspended the country’s constitution and declared a three-month state of emergency.

The military said it would remain in control for at least two years to oversee a “transition of power.”

“The protests will continue and I will continue drawing,” Albaih, who lives in Copenhagen, told CNN. “The army announcement was a huge disappointment to the people. We wanted a different outcome than the exact same plan that materialized in the rest of the Arab Spring countries.”

“It’s how to make the people think they had revolution 101. Egypt. Yemen. Algeria. Now us.”

This sentiment is echoed by Dalia Haj-Omar, a Sudanese human rights activist based outside of the country. “People I’m in touch with and my family on the ground, they describe the mood turning from celebrations to anger … so business as usual regarding protests.”

She says the military statement was a shock “because it is basically saying that the same institutions that oppressed us are still there and part of a transition.”

Three months “of emergency implies losing important constitutional civic rights,” Haj-Omar added. “They tried to do that when Bashir announced a state of emergency on Jan. 22 … they implemented summary trials for those breaking the ban on protests and could not control the situation because protests continued.”

Another activist, Marmar Alsayed, who is based in Qatar, told CNN: “The announcement was a disappointment for all the Sudanese people because we stood up to get rid of the regime but what we got was replacing one criminal with another criminal? We won’t rest until it’s over and the regime’s roots are removed completely, mark my words.”