Sudanese protests (2018–19)

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Sudanese protests (2018–19)
Part of Arab protests (2018–19)
Motto of sudanese 2018 revolution.jpg
Tasgut bas slogan spelled out on the ground with tear gas canisters[1]
Date19 December 2018 (2018-12-19) – present
(3 months and 2 days)
Caused by
Goals
Methods
Resulted in
  • Imposition of a state of emergency for one year, and reducing it for six months by the Legislative Council
  • Dissolution of the central and regional governments, formation of a new government
  • Postponement of constitutional amendments relating to the extension of the term of Omar al-Bashir, without cancelling his candidacy for another term[2][3]
Parties to the civil conflict
Different groups of civil movements and individual people
Lead figures
Non-centralized leadership

Omar al-Bashir
Sudanese President

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

Awad Ibn Oaf
Sudanese Minister of Defense

Salah Mohammed Abdullah (Gosh)
Head of National Intelligence and Security Service
Casualties
Death(s)37[4]
Arrested800+

Sudanese protests (2018–19), also known as Sudanese uprising are a series of demonstrations that broke out on 19 December, 2018 in some cities in Sudan, due to spiraling costs of living and deterioration of economic conditions at all levels of society,[5] The protests quickly turned from demands for urgent economic reforms into demands for Omar al-Bashir to step down.[6]

The violence of the government's reaction to these peaceful demonstrations sparked international concern. On 22 February, al-Bashir declared a state of emergency and dissolved the national and regional governments, replacing the latter with military and intelligence-service officers.[7] On 8 March, al-Bashir announced that all of the women jailed for protesting against the government would be released.[8]

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.[9]

The Sudanese government started austerity measures recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), [10] including 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 ascent 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.[10][11] The devaluation of the Sudanese pound in October 2018 led to wildly fluctuating exchange rates and a shortage of cash in circulation.[11] 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.[11]

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 would not run in the upcoming elections.[12] These measures led to rising opposition from within the party calling for respect of the constitution, which currently prevents Al-Bashir from being reelected. Sudanese activists reacted on social media and called for a campaign against his nomination.[12]

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.[13] The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted Al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the western region of Darfur.[14]

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, Dongola and the capital Khartoum. Protestors set fire to the national party headquarters in Atbara and Dongola.[15] Authorities used tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition to disperse demonstrators, causing dozens of deaths and injuries.[16] The former prime minister, Sadiq al-Mahdi, returned to the country on the same day.[15]

Access to social media and instant messaging was cut on 21 December by the country's major service providers, with technical evidence collected by the NetBlocks internet observatory and Sudanese volunteers indicating the installation of "an extensive internet censorship regime".[17][18]

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

Map of Sudan (2011) (UNOCHA)

On 9 January, thousands of protesters gathered in the southeastern city of El-Gadarif.[20] Curfews were issued across Sudan, with schools closed throughout the country.

Protests organized by the Sudanese Professionals Associations led to a doctor being shot on 17 January,[21][22] and to allegations that hospitals were being targeted by security forces.[23]

Media 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.[24][25]

A "senior military source" told Middle East Eye that Salah Gosh, head of Sudanese intelligence, had the support of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt to replace al-Bashir as president, citing his private talks with Yossi Cohen at the Munich Security Conference as evidence (15-17 February).[7]

On 22 February, Bashir declared a state of national emergency—the first in twenty years[26]—and "dissolved the central and regional governments".[27] The next day he appointed his chosen successor, Mohamed Tahir Ayala, as Prime Minister and former intelligence chief and current Defence Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf as first vice president. His intelligence chief also announced that he would not seek re-election in 2020 and would resign from the head of the National Congress Party.[26] Ahmed Haroun, also wanted by the ICC for war crimes, replaced Al-Bashir as leader of the National Congress party. Officers from the military and intelligence services were put in charge of provincial governments after the dissolution.[28][7]

Security forces raided universities in Khartoum and Ombdurman, reportedly beating students with sticks in Khartoum on 24 February.[29] New 10-year prison sentences and emergency courts were decreed the same day by al-Bashir.[30]

On 7 March, protests were organized to honor women for their leading role in the uprising.[31] "You women, be strong" and "This revolution is a women's revolution" were slogans chanted at several protests.[32] On 8 March, Omar al-Bashir ordered that all the women who had been arrested for participating in anti-government demonstrations be freed.[8]

Slogans[edit]

Similar to other protests, the Sudanese protestors have chanted slogans demanding the fall of the current regime. These slogans include "Freedom, peace and justice,"[33] "We are all Darfur,"[11] and "Just fall – that is all",[34] among others.[35]

Just fall – that is all[edit]

The slogan "Just fall – that is all" (تسقط – بس tasquṭ bas) was first used on Twitter and Facebook pages during the protests of 22nd December 2018 and has thereafter been widely used.[34] 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" sketch

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." [36][37]

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[38] by National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) agents in relation to allegations of a planned attack.[39] According to Radio Dabanga, the NISS claimed that a number of Darfuri students had been trained by the Israeli Mossad to carry out acts of sabotage.[40] 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."[41]

Reactions[edit]

United Nations[edit]

United Nations On 28 December 2018, two United Nations Special Rapporteurs expressed alarm about reports of government violence (using live ammunition) against protestors and concern about "arbitrary arrests and detentions".[42]

Arab states[edit]

  •  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."[43]
  •  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.[44]
  •  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.[45]
  •  United Arab Emirates – The UAE has announced plans to support the shortages of the Sudanese economy and provided 1.12 million tonnes of fuel and allocated $300 million to finance Sudan's agriculture.[46][47]

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.[46]
  •  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."[48]
  •  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."[49]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://twitter.com/RealRameyDawoud/status/1086969298860601344/photo/1
  2. ^ Reuters (22 February 2019). "Bashir Calls on Parliament to Delay Amendments Allowing Him Another Term". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Sudan Call Launch Campaign Against Al Bashir Re-Election". allAfrcia. 9 October 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  4. ^ "More than 800 detained in ongoing Sudan protests: Minister – News – Al Jazeera". www.aljazeera.com.
  5. ^ "Several killed in Sudan as protests over rising prices continue". Al Jazzera. 21 December 2018. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Sudanese police fire on protests demanding president step down". The Guardian. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  7. ^ a b c David Hearst; Simon Hooper; Mustafa Abu Sneineh (1 March 2019). "EXCLUSIVE: Sudanese spy chief 'met head of Mossad to discuss Bashir succession plan'". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Soudan: les femmes en première ligne des manifestations anti-Béchir" (in French). 9 March 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  9. ^ Mohammed Amin (18 January 2018). "Protests rock Sudan's capital as bread prices soar". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ a b c d "'We are all Darfur': Sudan's genocidal regime is under siege". The Economist. 10 January 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Alan Cowell; anon. (1 July 1989). "Military Coup In Sudan Ousts Civilian Regime". NY Times. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  14. ^ Xan Rice (4 March 2009). "Sudanese president Bashir charged with Darfur war crimes". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  15. ^ a b Khalid Abdelaziz (20 December 2018). "Sudan price protests subverted by 'infiltrators': spokesman". Retrieved 26 February 2019. Leading Sudanese opposition figure Sadiq al-Mahdi returned to Sudan on Wednesday from nearly a year in self-imposed exile
  16. ^ Ruth Maclean (30 December 2018). "Dozens have been killed by the regime. But Sudan's protesters march on". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Study shows extent of Sudan internet disruptions amid demonstrations". NetBlocks. 2018-12-21. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  18. ^ Yousef Saba; Nafisa Eltahir (2 January 2019). "Sudan restricts social media access to counter-protest movement". Reuters. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Over 800 arrested in Sudan demos". Daily Nation. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  20. ^ "Thousands protest al-Bashir's rule in eastern Sudanese city". News24. AP. 9 January 2019.
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  22. ^ "Doctor and child killed in Sudan protests as police break up march". The Standard. 18 January 2019. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Is the government of Sudan's Omar al-Bashir unravelling?". The Take. Al Jazeera. 1 February 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  24. ^ "Sudan: A crumbling regime puts the squeeze on the media". The Listening Post. Al Jazeera. 16 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Sudanese authorities prevent distribution of Al-Jarida newspaper". CPJ: Committee to Protect Journalists. June 17, 2018.
  26. ^ a b Khalid Abdelaziz (23 February 2019). "Day into emergency rule, Sudan's Bashir names VP and prime minister". Reuters.
  27. ^ Mohammed Alamin (22 February 2019). "Sudan's Al-Bashir Declares State of Emergency for One Year". Bloomberg. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  28. ^ "Sudanese continue protests as president tightens grip". Christian Science Monitor. 14 March 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  29. ^ Mohammed Alamin (27 February 2019). "Protesters Face Whippings and Tear Gas in Sudanese Crackdown". Bloomberg. Retrieved 27 February 2019. Leading Sudanese opposition figure Sadiq al-Mahdi returned to Sudan on Wednesday from nearly a year in self-imposed exile
  30. ^ Mohammed Alamin (26 February 2019). "Sudan's Leader Issues Decrees to Curb Protests, Black Market". Bloomberg. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  31. ^ Iliana Hagenah (8 March 2019). "Women are leading the push to topple Sudan's Omar Hassan al-Bashir, and suffering for it". CBS News. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  32. ^ Ryan Lenora Brown (12 March 2019). "'A women's revolution': Why women are leading calls for change in Sudan". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  33. ^ "Sudan women join protests to fight for their rights". The National. AFP. 17 January 2019. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  34. ^ a b "'تسقط تسقط تسقط بس'". Alhurra (in Arabic). Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  35. ^ Wa'el Jabbara (17 January 2019). "The Chants of the Sudan Uprising". 500 words magazine. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  36. ^ "Push for more Sudan protests after police block march". Capital News. AFP. 2019-01-01. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  37. ^ "Sudanese riot police clash with protesters in Khartoum". Press TV. 2018-12-31. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  38. ^ 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.
  39. ^ "Under-fire Bashir launches probe into protest deaths in Sudan". Middle East Eye. 1 January 2019. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  40. ^ "Darfur Bar Ass calls for release of 32 students accused of being 'SLM-AW sabotage cell'". Radio Dabanga (Amsterdam). Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  41. ^ "Sudan: Darfur Bar Ass – Accusations Against Darfuri Students Unfounded". Radio Dabanga (Amsterdam). 2018-12-28. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  42. ^ 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.
  43. ^ "Egypt backs Sudan government amid deadly protests". The National. AFP. 27 December 2018.
  44. ^ "Protests continue in Sudan as Bashir meets Qatari ruler". Middle East Eye. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  45. ^ Dubai-Arabic.net (25 January 2018). "الملك سلمان يبعث وفداً وزارياً إلى السودان تضامناً معه". Al Arabiya (in Arabic). Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  46. ^ a b "UAE, Russia and Turkey pledge aid to Sudan amid ongoing protests". Middle East Eye. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  47. ^ Waked, Christiane (23 February 2019). "Sudan's people want bread, not another Arab Spring". Khaleej Times.
  48. ^ Mohammed Alamin (January 14, 2019). "Sudan's Bashir Defies Calls to Step Down as Pressure Mounts". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  49. ^ Robert Palladino (23 January 2019). "U.S. Concern Over Sudanese Government Response to Protests". www.state.gov. Retrieved 29 January 2019.

External links[edit]