2011–13 Sudanese protests
|2011–13 Sudanese protests|
|Part of the Arab Spring|
The 2011–13 Sudanese protests began in January 2011 as part of the Arab Spring regional protest movement. Unlike other Arab countries, popular uprisings in Sudan succeeded in toppling the government prior to the Arab Spring, in both 1964 and 1985. Anti-government demonstrations were less common throughout the summer of 2011, during which South Sudan seceded from Sudan, but resumed in force late in the year, and in June 2012 shortly after the government passed its much criticized austerity plan.
President Omar al-Bashir has been the Sudanese president since he led a bloodless coup in 1989. Bashir began instituting Sharia and abolished political parties in 1990. He appointed himself president in 1993, returned Sudan to civilian rule, and won a presidential election in 1996 as the only candidate. In 2008, the International Criminal Court called for his arrest for alleged genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. But Sudan rejected the indictment, saying the decision was defiance against Sudan's sovereignty. The political system of Sudan are widely considered by both domestic and international community to take place within an authoritarian system due to the control of the National Congress Party of the judiciary, executive and legislative branches of government.
Demographic and economic challenges 
- Austerity plan
Sudan has lost billions of dollars in oil receipts since South Sudan gained independence in July 2011, about three quarters of Sudan's oil fields falling within the territory of the new country. The north has been left struggling for revenue, plagued by inflation, and with a severe shortage of dollars to pay for imports. The landlocked South depended on the north's pipeline and port to export its crude, but Khartoum and Juba could not agree on how much South Sudan should pay to use the infrastructure. Sudan's already depleted oil revenues shrank by a further 20 per cent after its main Heglig oil field was damaged and shut down in fighting with invading South Sudanese troops in April 2012.
In an attempt to address the economic meltdown, the Sudanese government has announced a new austerity plan on 18 June 2012, which includes raising taxes on consumer goods, cutting the number of civil servants on its payroll, raising the price of a gallon of petrol by 5 Sudanese pounds, pushing it up to 13.5 pounds from 8.5 pounds, and lifting the fuel subsidies. The plan did not gain much acceptance among common Sudanese as it is believed that the prices of every commodity will get hikes in effect from transport to domestically produced food and other goods.
Lead-up to the protests 
Arab Spring 
The protests in Sudan have been influenced by the revolutionary wave that started in Tunisia and later spread to other Middle Eastern and North African nations. The protests followed shortly after a successful independence referendum in January 2011, on whether South Sudan should secede from Sudan and become an independent nation.
Early 2011 
On 30 January 2011, protests took place in Khartoum and Al-Ubayyid (el-Obeid). In Khartoum, police clashed with demonstrators in the town centre and at least two universities. Demonstrators had organized on online social networking sites since the Tunisian protests the month before. Hussein Khogali, editor in chief of the Al-Watan newspaper stated that his daughter had been arrested for organizing the protest via Facebook and opposition leader Mubarak al-Fadil's two sons were arrested while on their way to the main protest. Pro-government newspapers had warned that protests would cause chaos. Some protesters called for President Omar al-Bashir to step down. Activists said that dozens of people had been arrested. The protests came on the same day the preliminary results for the referendum indicated some 99% of South Sudanese voted to secede. One student died in hospital the same night from injuries received in the clashes. Students threw rocks at police officers while chanting "No to high prices, no to corruption" and "Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan together as one." Police officers arrested five and put down the protest.
In the Al-Ubayyid 30 January demonstration, about 500 people protested "against the government and demanding change" in the market. Police broke up the demonstration using tear gas.
Student protests in December 2011 
Students protested at the Red Sea University in Port Sudan after the arrest of several Darfuri student leaders on the night of 21 December, with many Darfuri student activists calling for a revolution and declaring their open support for the Sudan Revolutionary Front fighting the government in the south. On 26 December 42 Darfuri students left the Red Sea University in protest over their treatment, Radio Dabanga reported.
Students also clashed with riot police wielding batons after security forces stormed the University of Khartoum on 22 December to break up a rally by about 700 student demonstrators protesting the displacement of the Manasir community caused by the construction of the Merowe Dam. Twenty were injured and at least four were arrested, activists told media. On 24 December, approximately 16,000 students attempted to launch a sit-in at the university to protest the police, the university administration, and the federal government, but they were dispersed by riot police who deployed tear gas, dealt out beatings, and arrested at least 73. Leaders of the student movement warned that they would continue to organize and demand the overthrow of the government despite security officers' violent tactics. On 30 December, thousands of students successfully launched a sit-in protest, the Associated Press reported.
At Sudan University of Science and Technology in Khartoum, fighting between student supporters of Khalil Ibrahim and the ruling National Congress Party broke out on 28 December, days after the Sudanese government announced Ibrahim's death in a battle between his Darfuri rebel group JEM and the Sudan People's Armed Forces. Twelve were injured in the brawl, which police used tear gas to disperse.
The student protests, in particular those at the University of Khartoum, have been blamed by police on the influence of unnamed Sudanese opposition parties.
Anti-austerity protests in June–July 2012 
Hundreds of female students in the University of Khartoum protested peacefully in the surroundings of their hostels at the central campus on the evening of 16 June. The protesters voice opposition against the escalation of prices and economic hardship in Sudan. The next day, students took to the streets, denouncing the austerity measures one day ahead of plans announced by the Sudanese government.
As Omar Al-Bashir has formally announced a series of deep budget cuts while addressing the National Assembly in Khartoum, about 250 students held anti-austerity protest in the Khartoum University. Riot police used tear gas and batons against the protesters who in turn threw stones at police. The clashes took place in front of the main campus of the University of Khartoum and in the suburb Omdurman against more than 300 student protesters. On 20 June, hundreds of students held anti-austerity protest for another day, escalating their demands and started to chant slogans like "No, no to high prices" and "The people want to overthrow the regime".
Shortly after the Friday prayers on 22 June, hundreds of Sudanese assembled to protest. Unlike the previous protest held during the past few days, this protest was not mainly a student led one due to the protest spreading into many neighborhoods that had been quiet. Protests took place in Omdurman, Khartoum, Burri, Al-Daim, El Obeid, Sennar, and Bahri saw demonstrations after noon prayers. The police escalated the use of force during their clashes with the protesters and the smell of tear gas and broken rocks covered streets. Men in civilian clothes also attacked the demonstrators. Students in Kassala protested on 27 June outside the local university against the austerity measures and called for regime change.
On 29 June, around 2,000 protesters gathered in the capital and chanted "the people want the regime to fall". Hundreds of police and security forces attacked the demonstration with tear gas. Other protests in the area of north Kordofan were reported. Activists said that a man named Amir Bayoumi, from Omdurman, has reportedly died from the effects of inhaling tear gas. The largest protest so far erupted in Sudan on 6 July in which between 3,000 and 4,000 people protested at Al Ansar mosque in Wad Nubawi, Omdurman. Security forces and police blocked the roads leading to the Al Ansar mosque and surrounded the courtyard before the end of Friday prayers.
Sudanese university students armed with sticks and stones on Wednesday staged one of their largest protest on 11 July since unrest sparked by inflation began nearly a month ago. Security forces fired tear gas while students at the University of Khartoum were shouting and throwing stones after the protest began mid-afternoon. Two days later, Sudanese police surrounded the Imam Abdel Rahman Mosque in Omdurman and fired teargas when some 300 worshippers started a protest after noon prayers. Officers used batons to drive worshippers back inside the mosque where they continued their protest for more than an hour, one witness said. Protesters shouted "the people want to overthrow the regime" and held up banners denouncing the government. On 16 July, a group of over 300 Sudanese lawyers protested outside Khartoum’s main courtroom on Monday against the government’s use of violence and arbitrary detention during last Friday's peaceful demonstrations.
Witnesses said in what was the biggest anti-austerity protest on 31 July since President Omar Hassan al-Bashir announced a cut in fuel subsidies and other austerity measures, more than 1,000 protesters, mostly students, threw rocks at police, burned tires and blocked roads in the market area of Nyala, on Tuesday. Activists said police forces fired heavy teargas and live bullets, leading to the death of 12 protesters and injury of more than 50 and added that 9 of the victims' bodies have been received at Nyala Hospital. However, the authorities issued conflicting statements with the police, saying eight were killed and South Darfur governor saying only six protesters were killed.
Protests over killing of Darfuri students in December 2012 
On 5 December 2012, four students at Gezira University, Darfur, were killed during a crackdown on anti-tuition fee protests. Demanding an investigation into the deaths, protests flared up once again, with students from Khartoum engaging in running battles with the police.
Arab land sale protests 
On 26 April 2013, protestors blocked a major road out of Khartoum in protest of a sell-off of farmland to Arabian investors. The crowds were dispersed by the authorities, wielding batons and tear gas. 
Rebel attacks of April 2013 
An alliance of four rebel groups called the Sudanese Revolutionary Front attacked the provinicial town of Umm Ruwaba on the 27th of April 2013.  The government was eventually able to repel the attack, but ignited a local protest over lack of security in the region. Protestors stoned a government convoy the following day.
Arrests and repression 
On 17 January 2011, security forces in Sudan arrested the head of the Popular Congress Party, Hassan al-Turabi, as well as five other members of the party, after he called for a similar protest to oust the ruling government over electoral fraud, stoking inflation and abrogating civil liberties at a time when Sudan was facing a secessionist referendum.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said journalists are facing increasing harassment. On 30 January 2011, journalists were beaten by security forces and at least eight were detained. The following day, the distribution of several opposition newspapers was blocked by authorities.
During the anti-austerity protests in June 2012, the Egyptian journalist Salma El-wardany was detained on 21 June 2012 and later released after five hours in detention. A Sudanese citizen journalist Usamah Mohamad was arrested the following day. An Agence France-Presse reporter was also detained.
As of July 2012, over 2,000 activists have been detained since protests began in Khartoum on 16 June, the activist group Girifna reported. The majority of detainees are being held in NSS detention centres, which are known for the use of ill treatment and torture—including beatings, sleep and food deprivation, racism and sexual abuse. Authorities have reportedly beaten detainees with their fists, hoses, plastic pipes, sticks and metal bars.
On 11 July 2012, President Omar al-Bashir dismissed opposition calls for an Arab Spring-style uprising in the African country, threatening that "a burning hot summer" awaits his enemies. Bashir also warned that Sudan's enemies would also be skewered.
USA – The U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland condemned the assault and detention of anti-austerity protestors, saying a crackdown on protestors will not solve Sudan’s political and economic crises. "There have been reports of protestors being beaten, imprisoned and severely mistreated while in government custody. We call for the immediate release of those detained for peaceful protest."
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information slammed the crackdown on protests, says Khartoum "must show respect for the human rights" of its citizens after Khartoum uses violence to disperse peaceful demonstrations: "There should be dialogue with the opposition and respect for the human rights of its citizens to express themselves and protest without harassment."
The Organisation for Defence of Rights and Freedoms said that police in Sudan have attacked demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets and accused security forces of surrounding mosques where protests take place.
Human Rights Watch stated that the Sudanese security forces have arrested scores of protesters, opposition members, and journalists, beat people in detention, and used rubber bullets and even live ammunition to break up the anti-austerity protests. It further called on Sudan to end the crackdown on peaceful protesters, release people who have been detained, and allow journalists to report freely on the events.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the Sudanese authorities to ensure that the demonstration proceeds peacefully, without mass arrests and violent measures by security forces.
- Solidarity protests
On 30 June 2012, Sudanese living outside Sudan stage protests in London, Dublin, Washington, D.C., Toronto, Paris, Cairo, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Edinburgh, Sacramento, Canberra and other various locations to show of in solidarity with the ongoing anti-government protests in Sudan.
See also 
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