Sudan has entered the third month of widespread and sustained protests across the country, and there is now some indication that President Omar al-Bashir’s grip on power is weakening. Bashir has rejected calls to leave office and has remained defiant, but some trepidation is showing among his supporters. On Feb. 22, Bashir made his strongest move yet by declaring a year-long state of emergency and dissolving federal and state governments. Nonetheless, demonstrations continue with protesters repeating the now familiar rallying cries of “Freedom, peace, and justice” and “Just fall, that is all!”
To be sure, Bashir has clung to power longer than anyone would have predicted when he assumed the presidency in a 1989 military coup, and underestimating his political resilience is a mistake. But the protests that have rocked the country since Dec. 19 present perhaps the greatest challenge to his rule. As the demonstrations continue, regional heads of state and international leaders face difficult questions—and decisions—about how to respond.