Supporters of President Omar al Bashir wave Sudanese flags during a rally for him at the Green Square in the capital Khartoum on Jan. 9.
Thirty years after seizing power in a military coup, Sudanese President Omar al Bashir is doing his best to avoid suffering the same fate as his predecessor. Public demonstrations that began Dec. 19 are now in their second month, and protesters are facing tear gas and live ammunition instead of negotiators. The very absence of meaningful dialogue between protest leaders and al Bashir's government indicates that the unrest will not end quickly or peacefully. The government in Khartoum has been heavy-handed historically when maintaining public order, but the stick doesn't appear to be working this time around. Neither, however, are economic promises, appeals to Islamist sentiments or attempts to exploit ethnic and religious differences. The protests have endured and have now grown into the most difficult civic challenge that al Bashir has yet faced....
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