Alaa Salah

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Alaa Salah in the image that went viral as a symbol of the 2018–19 Sudanese protests

Alaa Salah (Arabic: آلاء صلاح‎, Sudanese: [ʔaːˈlaːʔ sˤɑˈlaːħ]; born 1996/1997) is a Sudanese student and anti-government protester. She gained attention from a picture of her taken by Lana Haroun that went viral in April 2019. The image of Salah has been dubbed as "Woman in White" or "Lady Liberty" of Sudan.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Alaa Salah was born in either 1996 or 1997. Her mother is a fashion designer and her father works in the construction industry.[3] She studies engineering and architecture at Sudan International University in Khartoum.[4]

Sudan protests[edit]

Since December 2018, a series of protests against President Omar al-Bashir have taken place, demanding economic reforms and the resignation of the president. A state of emergency has been declared in February 2019 as a result of the protests. April 6 and 7 saw the largest protests since the declaration of the state of emergency. In continuing protests, the army has been seen protecting protesters from the security forces on April 10.[5][6][7][8] Eventually the protests led to the military removing al-Bashir from power, installing a transitional council in his place led by Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, but the demonstrators, including Salah, claimed it was just a change of leadership on the same regime and demanded a civilian transitional council.[9]


As protests continued, on April 8 Lana Haroun took an image of an initially unnamed woman dressed in a white thoub standing on a car, who spoke to and sang with other women around her during a sit-in near the army headquarters and the presidential palace.[10] The image was widely shared on social media and caught international media attention. The image has been described as symbolic of the crucial role of women in the success of the demonstrations, since the vast majority of protesters, almost 70 per cent, are women.[3][2][4]

Salah's white robe, a traditional Sudanese thoub, recalled the dress of female Sudanese protesters against previous dictatorships, as well as that of student protesters who were referred to as "Kandakas" after ancient Nubian queens.[11] Her golden earrings are traditional feminine wedding attire.[11] Commentators called the pose "the image of the revolution".[11] Hala Al-Karib, a Sudanese women's rights activist said: "It is a symbol of an identity of a working woman — a Sudanese woman that's capable of doing anything but still appreciates her culture."[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CNN, Gianluca Mezzofiore. "This woman has come to symbolize Sudan's protests". CNN. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  2. ^ a b "Woman in white goes viral as symbol of Sudan's uprising". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2019-04-11. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  3. ^ a b Salih, Zeinab Mohammed (2019-04-10). "'I was raised to love our home': Sudan's singing protester speaks out". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  4. ^ a b "This Woman Stood On Top Of A Car And Became An Icon Of Sudan's Historic Protests". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  5. ^ Reuters (2019-01-17). "Sudanese police fire on protesters demanding president step down". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  6. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Sudanese spy chief 'met head of Mossad to discuss Bashir succession plan'". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  7. ^ "Le mouvement de protestation s'embrase au Soudan" (in French). 2019-04-08. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  8. ^ Mullany, Gerry (2019-04-11). "Sudan's Military to Make Announcement Amid Protests Against Omar Hassan al-Bashir". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  9. ^ Maclean, Ruth (2019-04-11). "Mood in Sudan shifts to anger as the army prepares to seize power". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  10. ^ "Poetic photo of Sudan's 'Lady Liberty' sheds light on anti-government protests". ABC News. 2019-04-10. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  11. ^ a b c Friedman, Vanessa (2019-04-10). "'It's Going to Be the Image of the Revolution'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  12. ^ O'Grady, Siobhán (2019-04-09). "The woman in white: Why a photo from the Sudan protests has gone viral". ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2019-04-10.