Sudanese protests (2018–19)

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Sudanese protests (2018–19)
Date19 December 2018 (2018-12-19)ongoing
(2 months and 3 days)
Location
Most cities in Sudan in general
Caused by
Goals
Methods
Resulted inPromises of urgent economic and political reforms without any change in power
Parties to the civil conflict
Different groups of civil movements and individual people
Lead figures
Non-centralized leadership

Omar al-Bashir
Sudanese President

Sudan Mohammed Hamdan Dalgo (Hemaidttie)
Head of the Rapid Support Forces

Sudan Awad Ibn Oaf
Sudanese Minister of Defense

Sudan Salah Mohammed Abdullah (Gosh)
Head of National Intelligence and Security Service
Casualties
Death(s)37[1]
Arrested800+

The Sudanese protests (2018–19) are a series of protests that erupted on December 19, 2018 in Atbara where the National Congress Party headquarters was burned down. Fuel and bread costs, high inflation, and a shortage of cash in the economy have contributed to public discontent and to calls for President Omar al-Bashir to step down.[2][3]

The protesters have been met with tear gas and live ammunition[4], causing dozens of deaths and injuries and prompting international criticism. "Just fall - that is all" (تسقط - بس)[5] is one of the most famous slogans from the Sudanese protests.

Background[edit]

In January 2018, large protests started on the streets of Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, in opposition to the rising prices of the basic goods including bread. The protests grew quickly and found support from different opposition parties. Youth and women's movements also joined the protests.[6]

The Sudanese government started austerity measures as part of its efforts to apply economic reform as recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).[7] The austerity measures included devaluation of the local currency, as well as the removal of wheat and electricity subsidies. Sudan’s economy has struggled since Omar al-Bashir's ascend to power, but became increasingly turbulent following the secession of South Sudan in 2011, which, up until then, had represented an important source of foreign currency, because of its oil output.[7][8]

In August 2018, the National Congress party backed Omar Al-Bashir's 2020 presidential run, despite his increasing unpopularity and his previous declaration that he will not run in 2020 elections.[9] These measures led to rising opposition voices from within the party calling for respect of the constitution. Sudanese activists reacted in the social media and called for a campaign against his nomination.[9] The devaluation of the Sudanese pound in October 2018 led to wildly fluctuating exchange rates and a shortage of cash in circulation.[8] Long queues for basic goods such as petrol, bread, as well as cash from ATM machines are a common sight. Sudan has around 70% inflation, second only to Venezuela.[8]

Al-Bashir has ruled the country since 1989. He came to power by leading a coup against the elected but increasingly unpopular prime minister of the time, Sadiq al-Mahdi.[10] The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted Al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the western region of Darfur.[11]

Timeline[edit]

The most recent waves of protests began on 19 December 2018 in response to the tripling of the price of bread in Atbara, then quickly spread to Port Sudan and the capital Khartoum. Authorities used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition to disperse demonstrators, causing dozens of deaths and injuries.[12] Social media access through the country's major service providers was cut on 21 December.[13]

By 7 January 2019 over 800 anti-government protesters were arrested and 19 people, including security officials, were killed during the protests.[14]

On 9 January, thousands of protesters gathered in the southeastern city of El-Gadarif.[15] Curfews have been issued across Sudan, with schools closed throughout the country.

Newspapers coverage of the protests was strictly controlled by security forces. Al Tayyar began printing blank pages to show the amount of government-censored copy. Other news outlets have seen their entire print run confiscated by the government. The security service (NISS) raided Al Jarida's offices again, which has led the latter to stop producing its print version. According to the Listening Post, foreign Arabic-language videographers have been particularly targeted by the government.[16][17]

Slogans[edit]

Just like in any other revolution, the Sudanese demonstrators have chanted slogans demanding the fall of the current regime. This slogans include "Freedom, peace and justice,"[18] "We are all Darfur,"[8] and "Just fall - that is all",[5] among others.[19]

Just fall - that is all[edit]

The slogan "Just fall - that is all" (تسقط - بس) was first used on Twitter and Facebook pages during the protests of 22nd December 2018 and has thereafter been widely used.[5] Starting in late December, many people across social media and on the ground started using the slogan in writing including on walls, on the ground using empty tear gas canisters, bricks, and other household items.

Tasgut bas

Freedom, peace and justice[edit]

This slogan was the first to be used in downtown Khartoum where demonstrators chanting "freedom, peace and justice" and "revolution is the people’s choice" were met with tear gas. The organizers of this particular march were "professionals, including doctors, engineers, and teachers." [20][21]

We are All Darfur[edit]

The slogan "You arrogant racist, we are all Darfur!" was used in Khartoum in response to the targeting of students from Darfur[22] by National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) agents in relation to allegations of a planned attack.[23] The NISS claimed that a number of Darfuri students have been trained by the Israeli Mossad to carry out acts of sabotage.[24] The 32 Darfuri students who are studying at the University of Sennar in eastern Sudan were arrested in Sinnar and transported to Khartoum where they subsequently confessed "under duress."[25]

Reactions[edit]

United Nations[edit]

On 28 December 2018, the UN Office of the High Commissioner expressed alarm about reports of government violence (using live ammunition) against protestors and concern about "arbitrary arrests and detentions".[26]

Arab states[edit]

  •  Bahrain – Bahrain declared, through its ministry of foreign affairs, its solidarity with Sudan and the Sudanese leader's efforts in surpassing the crisis.[27][better source needed]
  •  Egypt - Egypt sent its minister of foreign affairs Sameh Shoukry to become the first Arab official to announce its support of the Sudanese government. "Egypt is confident that Sudan will overcome the present situation," Shoukry said, adding that "Egypt is always ready to support Sudan and the ability of Sudanese people as per the government of Sudan's vision and policies."[28]
  •  Qatar – The Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hammad declared his support of Omar al-Bashir, whose first international trip since the uprising began was to visit the Emir. No financial support was announced after this meeting.[29]
  •  Saudi ArabiaKing Salman of Saudi Arabia has sent a diplomatic delegation calling for the stability of Sudan and stating that the security of Sudan is part of the security of the (Saudi) kingdom itself. [30].
  •  United Arab Emirates - The UAE has announced its plan to support the needs and meet the shortages that the Sudanese Government is facing, without specifying what these are.[31]

Other states[edit]

  •  Turkey - Turkey announced its aid to the Sudanese government by providing the country with wheat to assist in dropping its prices and helping calm down the protests.[31]
  •  United Kingdom - British Ambassador to Sudan Irfan Siddiq said he urged the Sudanese government to avoid violence with the protesters and to release the political detainees saying "No more use of force, credible investigations into killings, release of political detainees, freedom of media and respect for the sanctity of hospitals and work of medics all essential steps."[32]
  •  United States - The United States has announced its concern over the arrests and detentions, calling for the Sudanese government to release journalists, activists, and peaceful protesters arbitrarily detained during the protests, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino announced "We call on the government to allow for a credible and independent investigation into the deaths and injuries of protesters."[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "More than 800 detained in ongoing Sudan protests: Minister - News - Al Jazeera". www.aljazeera.com.
  2. ^ "Sudan political parties call for 'transitional council' to run country". Middle East Eye. 2 January 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  3. ^ Osha Mahmoud (25 December 2018). "'It's more than bread': Why are protests in Sudan happening?". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Newsday - A protester shot in Sudan explains why he'll continue to demonstrate - BBC Sounds". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  5. ^ a b c "'تسقط تسقط تسقط بس'". Alhurra (in Arabic). Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  6. ^ Mohammed Amin (18 January 2018). "Protests rock Sudan's capital as bread prices soar". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  7. ^ a b Amina Ismail and John Davison (12 December 2017). "IMF says Sudan must float currency to boost growth, investment". Reuters. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d "'We are all Darfur': Sudan's genocidal regime is under siege". The Economist. 10 January 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  9. ^ a b Mohammed Amin (14 August 2018). "Omar al-Bashir's nomination draws fire from all sides in Sudan". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  10. ^ Alan Cowell; anon. (1 July 1989). "Military Coup In Sudan Ousts Civilian Regime". NY Times. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  11. ^ Xan Rice (4 March 2009). "Sudanese president Bashir charged with Darfur war crimes". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  12. ^ Ruth Maclean (30 December 2018). "Dozens have been killed by the regime. But Sudan's protesters march on". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  13. ^ Yousef Saba; Nafisa Eltahir (2 January 2019). "Sudan restricts social media access to counter-protest movement". Reuters. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  14. ^ "Over 800 arrested in Sudan demos". Daily Nation. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  15. ^ "Thousands protest al-Bashir's rule in eastern Sudanese city". News24. AP. 9 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Sudan: A crumbling regime puts the squeeze on the media". The Listening Post. Al Jazeera. 16 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Sudanese authorities prevent distribution of Al-Jarida newspaper". CPJ: Committee to Protect Journalists. June 17, 2018.
  18. ^ "Sudan women join protests to fight for their rights". The National. AFP. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  19. ^ Wa'el Jabbara (17 January 2019). "The Chants of the Sudan Uprising". 500 words magazine. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Push for more Sudan protests after police block march". Capital News. AFP. 2019-01-01. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  21. ^ "Sudanese riot police clash with protesters in Khartoum". Press TV. 2018-12-31. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  22. ^ Paul Rosenberg (2019-01-27). "Uprising in Sudan: Does this African nation offer a window of hope onto the future?". Salon. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  23. ^ "Under-fire Bashir launches probe into protest deaths in Sudan". Middle East Eye. 1 January 2019. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  24. ^ "Darfur Bar Ass calls for release of 32 students accused of being 'SLM-AW sabotage cell'". Radio Dabanga. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  25. ^ "Sudan: Darfur Bar Ass - Accusations Against Darfuri Students Unfounded". Radio Dabanga (Amsterdam). 2018-12-28. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  26. ^ Clement Nyaletsossi Voule; Aristide Nononsi (28 December 2018). "Sudan: UN experts urge halt to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters". OHCHR. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  27. ^ "Bahrain Declares Solidarity with Sudan in Surpassing Crisis". www.svdaily.net. Retrieved 2019-01-06.[dead link]
  28. ^ "Egypt backs Sudan government amid deadly protests". The National. AFP. 27 December 2018.
  29. ^ "Protests continue in Sudan as Bashir meets Qatari ruler". Middle East Eye. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  30. ^ Dubai-Arabic.net (25 January 2018). "الملك سلمان يبعث وفداً وزارياً إلى السودان تضامناً معه". Al Arabiya (in Arabic). Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  31. ^ a b "UAE, Russia and Turkey pledge aid to Sudan amid ongoing protests". Middle East Eye. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  32. ^ Mohammed Alamin (January 14, 2019). "Sudan's Bashir Defies Calls to Step Down as Pressure Mounts". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  33. ^ Robert Palladino (23 January 2019). "U.S. Concern Over Sudanese Government Response to Protests". www.state.gov. Retrieved 29 January 2019.