A mass protest in Sudan has been announced for Friday June 29, 2012, following demonstrations calling for a change in regime over the past ten days. The protest is dubbed “Licking Elbows” in response to President Bashir and his Assistant Nafi Ali Nafi’s repeated proclamation that those that weren’t happy with their rule could “lick their elbows”.
An international day of solidarity has also been planned for those demanding the fall of the National Congress Party on June 30, 2012 which marks the NCP’s 23rd Anniversary in power. In the meantime, members of the change movement have taken to Twitter, Facebook and other media outlets to voice their opposition and to connect with those on the front line who have been using the hash tag #SudanRevolts to provide updates and upload footage in an attempt to reach out to the media.
On aggregate #SudanRevolts estimates that 10,000 to 20,000 have demonstrated across Khartoum state over the past ten days and the protesters include not only students but citizens as well; protests have spontaneously been occurring in neighborhoods around the country. Much larger protests have reached several states and cities including Port Sudan, Kassala, North Kordofan, White Nile, Darfur and Gedarif.
The demonstrations have continuously built up momentum and intensity since protests broke out on June 16, 2012 as female students from the University of Khartoum staged an impromptu demonstration opposing a 35% increase in transportation prices, increases in general food prices and dormitories fees. Once joined by their male counterparts they moved off campus to Jamhuriya Street in the center of the city and were met by police forces that quickly dispersed the demonstrations. The police forces subsequently raided the university dorms, beating and harassing the female occupants. As the news spread, demonstrations began around the city in solidarity with the students.
By June 20, the fifth day of demonstrations, protests had grown in size and spread throughout Khartoum and the tri-‐state area. Numerous universities had joined the movement and staged their own protests, including the University of Sudan, Al-‐ Ahliya, Tighana University and Universities in Khartoum North. The outer state universities of Al Obeid, Sinnar and Gezira also soon joined in calling for a regime change. At all the protests, students loyal to the NCP (National Congress Party) joined security forces in assaulting the protesters, using metal rods, knives and Molotov cocktails.
It did not take long for locals to join the revolt and June 22, 2012 brought “Sand Storm Friday” that started after Friday prayers and saw yet another series of demonstrations breakout across several districts in Khartoum, Bahri and Omdurman. These protests continued into the early hours of Saturday morning and demonstrations were reported in over 30 locations. Some locations have seen mass protests while others involved several small groups using cat and mouse tactics with police within district alleys.
There has been an intense police and national security crackdown on the protests with extreme violence used not only to quell but to hurt and capture. Injuries sustained by the University of Khartoum students have been severe, to the extent that the #SudanRevolts movement organized a blood donation drive on their behalf. Several hundreds have been arrested; many being released quickly but those perceived as mobilizers are being detained at National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). Several perceived mobilizers are being arrested from their homes, mostly youth activists (independent or party affiliated) but opposition politicians are also now increasingly being arrested. The injured are intercepted by NISS at hospitals -‐ this has been witnessed at Omdurman Hospital.
The revolt comes after 23 long years of conflict, oppression and restrictions of basic freedoms. The latest fiscal austerity measures, announced by President Al Bashir on June 18, 2012, and entailing 50-‐60% increases in fuel, sugar and an across the board tax hike, was ultimately the straw that broke the camel’s back; the trigger for the long overdue revolt. The current situation in Sudan grows desperate as citizens struggle to make ends meet. Poverty in Sudan is endemic, currently at 46.5% overall and 57.6% in rural areas and growing more acute. Sudan’s Human Development Index is lowest of all MENA countries -‐ 169 of 187 overall.
The following is a list of useful resources for information on the revolution in Sudan
Main opposition group site -‐-‐ http://www.girifna.com/
#SudanRevolts in pictures -‐-‐ http://storify.com/rodrigodavies/sudanrevolts-in-pictures
#SudanRevolts WordPress -‐-‐ http://sudanrevolts.wordpress.com
#SudanRevolts Facebook -‐-‐ http://www.facebook.com/sdn.revolts
#SudanRevolts Crowdvoice -‐-‐ http://crowdvoice.org/sudan-protests
List of Sudanese blogs
*With a membership spanning the front-lines of Sudan to the Sudanese diaspora, #SudanRevolts is a media team providing updates on the situation in Sudan to the international media.