Governmental bloodbath, Iraqi people don’t give up


This 2008 video says about itself:

University students demonstration in Iraq

Hundreds of university students demonstrated against the proposed US-Iraq security pact.

By Jean Shaoul:

Iraqi regime responds to mass protests with brutal crackdown

30 October 2019

The Iraqi police and security services have killed at least 250 people and injured thousands more in a brutal crackdown against the mass protests that first erupted earlier this month. In Karbala, 18 people were killed and 122 injured on Monday night. Three people died in Nasiriya as a result of injuries sustained earlier in the month.

The strikes and protests against Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s government, which are uniting workers across religious affiliation despite the confusion deliberately stoked by Iraq’s divisive political system, are the largest in decades. Centered in the country’s majority Shia population, the ostensible base of the ruling parties that make up his fragile coalition, the protests have shaken the regime to its core.

They reflect the enormous anger over endemic poverty, rampant unemployment, the lack of the most basic services and the systemic corruption that has pervaded Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion and occupation and the bitter sectarian conflicts instigated by Washington as part of its divide-and-rule strategy that has devastated the country.

The demonstrations in Iraq are part of a global upsurge of social struggles that have seen mass demonstrations in Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Lebanon, and other countries.

Abdul Mahdi made no attempt to meet their demand for jobs, better living conditions and an end to corruption. He dismissed their grievances with contempt, saying there was no “magic solution”.

Yet Iraq is OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer. It has the fifth-largest crude oil reserves in the world and, as everyone knows, last year took in more than $100 billion in oil revenues. But far from benefiting the Iraqi people, the cash went straight into the hands of international oil companies and their bought-and-paid-for hirelings in Iraq’s political and business circles. According to Transparency International, Iraq is the world’s 12th most corrupt state.

Instead, Abdul Mahdi imposed a dusk to dawn curfew and closed down the internet and social media in a bid to stop the protests from spreading. In addition, he ordered the deployment of heavily armed soldiers, members of Iraq’s elite counterterrorism squads and riot police to stop demonstrators from marching on Tahrir Square in downtown Baghdad and on the Green Zone, the heavily fortified center of the Iraqi government, the US and other Western embassies and the numerous military contractors that prop up the regime.

Snipers were positioned on rooftops to pick off protesters and masked death squads were deployed to go to the homes of known activists and assassinate them. Thousands are believed to have been injured as a result of the security forces’ use of live ammunition, rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon.

Indeed, according to an Iraqi government committee that investigated the crackdown that took place during the first week of October, 149 civilians were killed as a result of the security forces’ use of excessive force and live fire, with more than 100 deaths caused by shots to the head or chest. While it held senior commanders responsible, it stopped short of blaming the prime minister and other top officials, claiming there had been no order to shoot.

But the government’s brutality only served to fuel the popular anger against the government. In the impoverished Shia neighborhoods of Sadr City, part of the Baghdad conurbation where more than a decade ago militias confronted American troops, crowds set fire to both government buildings and the offices of the Shia-based parties that support the government.

The initial wave of protests stopped for two weeks for the Shia religious festival of Arbaeen before resuming last Friday, when demonstrators in various parts of the country demanded the government’s resignation. “We’re here to bring down the whole government, to weed them all out,” and “We don’t want a single one of them. Not [parliamentary speaker Mohammed] Halbousi, not [Prime Minister Adel] Abdul Mahdi. We want to bring down the regime.”

The protests spread to the southern, Shia-populated southern provinces, with some of the young people voicing their opposition to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq’s leading Shia cleric, who urged protesters and security forces to show “restraint” and warned that there would be “chaos” if violence resumed.

As well as marching on Baghdad’s Green Zone, demonstrators targeted the headquarters of various militias across southern Iraq, including those of the Badr in ‘Amarra and Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq in Diwaniyah and the Sayyidd al-Shuhada’ in Nasiriya was also set on fire—a significant development given how strong the group is in that area. They also attacked the political parties and the government buildings they control, burning the Dawa Party headquarters in Diwaniya and the al-Hikma Party headquarters in Samawa, and provincial governorate buildings in the southern provinces of Dhi Qar, Qadisiya, and Wasit.

Once again, the government imposed a curfew, closed the internet, turned off the electricity in Tahrir Square, warned school and university students not to join the protests and gave the green light to the security forces to attack the demonstrators. According to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, 63 demonstrators were killed on Friday and Saturday, and more than 2,500 demonstrators and security forces injured, largely by parastatal forces. The photos and videos of some of those killed and injured are absolutely horrific.

But the protests have continued this week. Students—some 40 percent of Iraqis were born after the 2003 US-led invasion of the country—defied the government and joined the thousands demonstrating against the government and calling for its resignation, despite the security forces’ use of tear gas against them. Elsewhere in Baghdad, soldiers were seen beating up high school students.

Activists in Baghdad occupied Tahrir Square throughout Monday night in defiance of the curfew. Reuters news agency reported one protester as saying, “No, we will stay. They have now declared a curfew and severe punishments for anyone not going to work, this is how they fight us. We will stay here until the last day, even if there are a thousand martyrs.”

On Monday, the first cracks in Mahdi’s fragile coalition appeared with Muqtada al-Sadr, the cleric who backs parliament’s largest bloc and was instrumental in bringing Mahdi’s coalition to power, called for early elections.

These protests reflect Iraqis’ anger over the truly terrible conditions they have been forced to endure. Despite the $1 trillion in oil revenue generated since 2005, the level of poverty is appalling. According to World Bank figures, around seven million of Iraq’s 38 million people live below the poverty line, and youth unemployment is 25 percent, undoubtedly a huge underestimate.

According to the World Food Program, 53 percent of Iraqis are vulnerable to food insecurity, while a massive 66 percent of the two million internally displaced as a result of the civil war against ISIS are susceptible to food insecurity. Malnutrition is rife.

Life expectancy has fallen to 58.7 years for men and 62.9 years for women as a result of the destruction of Iraq’s healthcare system following years of economic sanctions in the 1990s and the occupation and civil war that followed the US-led invasion.

Most households no longer have access to a regular water supply but face constant interruptions and have to resort to tanker trucks or open wells.

Housing conditions are truly shocking. The US war and its aftermath destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes and displaced millions of people. Many are living in breeze block shacks with corrugated iron rooves. Fifty one percent of Iraqi households are crowded, some with as many as 10 people living in one home.

The protests are part of a broader upsurge in the class struggle that is taking place all over the world and testifies to the primacy of class over ethnicity, nationality and religion. The Middle East and North Africa have witnessed strikes and demonstrations in Algeria, Sudan, Jordan and Egypt and most recently, Lebanon.

Thirteen days of mass protests against the government’s corruption and economic measures that have impoverished the working class have brought Lebanon to a standstill. Many roads are blocked, and businesses, schools and universities are closed. The banks have remained shut throughout, fearing a currency devaluation and mass withdrawals. Riad Salameh, the Director of the Central Bank of Lebanon, speaking on CNN television, said that without a political solution, the Lebanese economy was just days away from collapsing. Hours later, Prime Minister Saad Hariri handed in his resignation to President Michel Aoun.

These struggles expose once again the political bankruptcy of the national bourgeoisie, not only in Iraq, but throughout the Arab world, that have proved organically incapable of resolving any of the democratic and social demands of the Arab masses or establishing any genuine independence from imperialism.

These demands can only be won by unleashing the enormous power of the independent international working class. It can be developed through the establishment of popular assemblies and workers’ committees in all the oil installations and workplaces throughout the country, aimed at mobilizing the independent strength of the working class in a struggle against the world capitalist system and for socialism.

Dutch refugees’ solidarity with Iraq protests


Iraqi refugees' solidarity demonstration with protests in Iraq, in The Hague, the Netherlands, photo by NOS

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Around 300 people demonstrated against the Iraqi government at the Iraqi embassy in The Hague. They wanted to talk to the ambassador, but he didn’t come out.

The protesters left a list at the embassy with ‘goals’ to improve life in Iraq. They think that the successive governments have not done much for the common people. The demonstration went without incident.

Restless

In Iraq it has been restless for days because of protests. As a result of the lethal intervention by ‘forces of order’ nearly 100 people were killed and more than 4000 people wounded since Tuesday, the Iraqi section of the UN Human Rights Commission reports. Protesters were also killed today.

Young people in particular take to the streets to demonstrate against unemployment, corruption and the lack of social services.

The Iraqi demonstrators oppose not only the government but also media like the Saudi government’s al-Arabiya.

Iraq’s new Arab Spring?


Anti-government protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq on Friday [Credit: AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed]

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Iraq in flames

5 October 2019

Iraqi security forces opened fire on unarmed civilians for the fourth day in a row Friday as protesters poured into the streets once again in defiance of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s declaration of a round-the-clock curfew.

The death toll was reported at 65 Friday night, with more expected to be killed in overnight clashes. The real number of dead is undoubtedly far higher. The number of wounded, from live ammunition, rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon, has been reported at over 1,500.

Heavily armed soldiers, members of Iraq’s elite counterterrorism squads and riot police have been deployed in an attempt to prevent demonstrators from marching on central Baghdad’s Tahrir Square and on the Green Zone, the heavily fortified center of the Iraqi government, the US and other Western embassies and the various military contractors hired to prop up the regime. Snipers on rooftops have been deployed to pick off protesters.

The government has shut down the internet across Iraq in its bid to suppress the organization of fresh protests. There have also been reports of masked death squads going to the homes of known activists and assassinating them.

Thus far, these repressive measures have proved counterproductive, with every state killing fueling the popular anger against the government. Unrest has gripped the impoverished Shia neighborhoods of Sadr City, where more than a decade ago militias confronted American troops. Crowds there reportedly have set fire to government buildings as well as the offices of Shia-based parties that support the government.

The protests, which have demanded jobs, improved living conditions and an end to corruption, are the largest and most widespread that have broken out in Iraq in the more than 16 years since Washington launched its war to topple the government of Saddam Hussein.

Most of those confronting US-trained security forces in the streets are unemployed youth and young workers whose entire lives have been shaped by the criminal US war of aggression, the subsequent eight years of US occupation and the bitter sectarian conflicts instigated by Washington as part of its divide-and-rule strategy.

The effects of the US war amounted to sociocide, i.e., the systematic destruction of an entire society. The number of Iraqis who lost their lives due to the war is estimated at well over a million. What had been among the most advanced healthcare, education and social welfare systems in the Middle East were demolished, along with the bulk of the country’s infrastructure.

Washington launched the 2003 invasion based on lies about “weapons of mass destruction” and the predatory conception that by militarily conquering Iraq it could seize control of the vast energy resources of the Middle East and thereby offset the decline of US imperialism’s global hegemony.

The Iraq war, however, just like the US-organized wars for regime change in Libya and Syria, resulted in a debacle. Within three years of withdrawing most of US troops from Iraq, the Obama administration began sending another 5,000 back in to wage the so-called war against ISIS, which reduced the predominantly Sunni cities of Anbar province and Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, to rubble.

Having spent trillions of dollars and sacrificed the lives of 4,500 troops—along with tens of thousands of wounded—Washington has proved utterly incapable of establishing a stable US puppet regime in Baghdad.

The current prime minister, Abdul Mahdi, is typical of the politically bankrupt bourgeois politicians that the US war and occupation brought to the fore. Initially a [Saddam Hussein] Ba’athist, he became a leading member of the Iraqi Communist Party before switching his allegiance while in exile to the Islamist ideology of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini. Finally, he found his way into the puppet regime erected by the Americans in 2004 as its “finance minister”.

Attempting to rule Iraq on the basis of sectarian politics, these elements have succeeded only in looting the country of hundreds of billions of dollars. They have failed to provide either jobs, essential services such as water and electricity, or the reconstruction of the country’s shattered infrastructure.

In the same speech in which he announced the round-the-clock curfew, Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi insisted that there was no “magic solution” to resolve the demands of the youthful demonstrators.

The demonstrators know, however, that Iraq, which boasts the fifth largest crude oil reserves in the world, is taking in more than $6 billion in oil revenues every month, and that the lion’s share of this wealth is flowing into the hands of foreign capitalists and a narrow Iraqi financial elite, along with corrupt politicians and their cronies. There is nothing “magical” in understanding that, placed under the control of Iraqi working people, this vast wealth could be used to meet the desperate social needs of tens of millions.

The protests have shaken the regime to its core precisely because they are centered in the country’s majority Shia population, the ostensible base of the ruling parties. What is emerging in Iraq as elsewhere in the Middle East is the resurgence of the class struggle in opposition to the sectarianism and repression through which imperialism and national ruling cliques have dominated the region.

This social eruption is part of a broader movement that has seen protests against Gen. Sisi’s police-state dictatorship in Egypt, mass demonstrations against IMF-style austerity measures in Lebanon and the more than month-old strike by 146,000 teachers against the Jordanian government.

These struggles are exposing once again the political bankruptcy of the national bourgeoisie, not only in Iraq, but throughout the Arab world. From the Ba’athist regimes of Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad, to outright stooges like Abdul Mahdi and Sisi, this class has proven organically incapable of resolving any of the democratic and social demands of the Arab masses or establishing any genuine independence from imperialism.

Taking place against the backdrop of the rising threat of yet another US imperialist war, this time against Iran, it is noteworthy that the upheavals in Iraq have been met with undisguised hostility in both Washington and Tehran.

Iranian officials have suggested that these mass protests against unemployment, intolerable living conditions and government corruption are the work of “infiltrators” backed by a combination of the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Clearly, the bourgeois-clerical rulers of the Islamic Republic fear that the revolt in Iraq can serve as a spark to reignite the mass protests of the Iranian working class that broke out in 2017-18 against unemployment, falling living standards, and sweeping social cuts.

For its part, the US State Department has issued a pro forma declaration affirming the right to protest in the abstract, while deploring “violence”—by the demonstrators, not the security forces—and appealing for “calm”. Meanwhile, the US corporate media has largely ignored the mass protests and the Iraqi regime’s bloody repression.

One need only imagine the response of the “human rights” imperialists to the gunning down of scores of demonstrators in Iran, Venezuela, Russia or any other country targeted by Washington for regime change. In the case of Iraq, however, US imperialism desperately fears that the revolutionary intervention of the masses will cut across its war aims.

The mass social upsurge in Iraq—widely seen as a potential battleground for a US war against Iran—points to the only way forward in stopping a new and more terrible war in the Middle East, and with it the threat of a global conflagration.

It is the struggle of the working class against capitalism, in Iraq, the broader Middle East, the United States and internationally, that provides the foundation for the emergence of a new mass antiwar movement. This movement must be armed with a program of socialist internationalism to unify workers all over the world to put an end to the source of war, social inequality and dictatorship: the capitalist system.

Anti-government protesters look toward the protest site area, blocked with concrete walls by Iraqi security forces in Baghdad

This photo shows anti-government protesters looking toward the protest site area, blocked with concrete walls by Iraqi security forces in Baghdad. That is at the infamous ‘Green Zone‘ in Baghdad; where the infamous supersize United States embassy is.

By Ben Chako in Britain:

Friday, October 4, 2019

Iraqi communists slam state violence as protest death toll rises to 42

IRAQI communists have denounced “acts of repression and violence” against protesters demanding jobs, better public services and an end to corruption, as the death toll from this week’s demonstrations rose to 42.

The Communist Party of Iraq’s political committee said that the unrest exploding in cities across the country was “a warning to the government that is responsible for the tragic situation and the dire living conditions of citizens.”

It called for fundamental reforms including an end to the sectarian “power-sharing quota” system of government, which “does not lead to any solutions but rather perpetuates and exacerbates crises.”

The communists also pressed for a commission of inquiry to probe the violence, an immediate order to security forces to “stop pursuing the wounded into hospital” and for Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and the head of the army to be summoned to an extraordinary session of parliament to explain themselves.

Party members would continue to participate in the protests and would strive to ensure that they stayed peaceful despite state violence, it said.

Mr Abdul-Mahdi called on protesters yesterday to go home, saying that the government had listened to their “legitimate demands”, but he inflamed anger by describing the state violence that has killed scores as “bitter medicine” that was “inevitable.”

He said he would not make “empty promises” but added that the government would work towards a basic income law.

Internet access has been shut off but was briefly restored before his speech, before being shut off again as news and reports of new protests began to spread.

But demonstrators continued to gather in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square despite the call — with police firing live bullets into the crowds.

And protesters in the south-eastern city of Nasiriyah, which has seen the worst violence with 24 protesters and a police officer killed, vowed that they would not give up.

“If the government is not dissolved, we will avenge our martyrs,” an unemployed 32-year-old named Hamid said.

Iraq’s most senior Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani slammed the government and its political rivals for failing to “fulfil the people’s demand — to fight corruption.”

Internet support for Sudanese anti-dictatorship movement


This 13 June 2019 video says about itself:

Social media users are changing their profile photos to the colour blue in support of Sudan’s uprising and in memory of those killed in a massacre on the 3rd June.

Elsewhere, in Algeria, a modern day equivalent of “Let them eat cake” – Marie Antoinette’s infamous expression – but this time it involves a former Prime Minister… and yoghurt! Finally, Donald Trump misspelt Wales as “Whales” and Twitter went wild.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 14 June 2019:

Social media users turn their profile photos into a blue area to show their support for the demonstrators in Sudan. Via the hashtag #BlueforSudan, they call attention to the brutal suppression of protests in the country. More than a hundred people were killed.

Favourite colour

Blue was the favourite colour of 26-year-old Mohamed Mattar. He was shot dead by soldiers on June 3 during demonstrations in the capital, Khartoum, trying to protect two women from an army attack.

After his death, his family and friends decided to change their profile photos on social media to blue. After a friend of Mattar, a Sudanese who lives in the USA and is an influencer on social media, also posted a message on her Instagram account to draw attention to the situation in Sudan, the action was increasingly followed.

View this post on Instagram

It’s really hard being an influencer and sharing information that is “off brand” and not worthy of the “feed” but I cannot hold this in anymore. I am at my office crying because I have so many emotions in me and I feel horrible. There’s a massacre happening in my country Sudan’s and a media blackout and internet censorship for four consecutive days. There is no objective media sharing what’s going on expect for @aljazeeraenglish which had their offices shot down. My friend @mattar77 was MURDERED by the Rapid Support Forces. My best friend was in hiding on June 2 and that’s the last time I spoke to him. He was missing for 4 days and when I got in touch with him he said: “I was caught, beaten and abused and humiliated and arrested and had my phone confiscated from me. I am injured currently.” And all I could do this post this. I am sorry to all companies I am running campaigns with but my editorial calendar is currently on pause. I am willing to refund all and everything right away. Please, just send me an email. To my followers/supporters who this is too much for I am also sorry but my regularly scheduled content/reviews is also on pause. If this offends you, I am sorry. But I need to speak out and share this in a time like this. If you want to support me please share this information as widely as possible and don’t be silent. Be an ally because we need your help. And tune into my stories for more information. THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS BEEN SILENT. #sudanuprising #sudanese_protest #مجزرة_القيادة_العامة #عيد_شهيد #اعتصام_رويال_كير #اعتصام_القيادة_العامه #السودان @wawa_waffles @sudanuprising.updates #sudanrevolts #sudanuprising #iamsudan #iamsudanrevolution #sudanese #freesudan

A post shared by Shahd Khidir (@hadyouatsalaam) on

Eg, the American R&B singer Ne-Yo – with 3 million followers on Instagram – now has a blue profile photo.

Ne-Yo's profile photo

Also, influencers such as models Halima Aden and Dina Tokio participate in the promotion. In addition to blue profile photos, photos and images appear in blue on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Meanwhile, blue is the colour for all the victims who died in Sudan and a sign of solidarity with demonstrators. There have been protests in the country for five months. Initially, they were directed against President Bashir, but he was deposed by the army in April. Since then, the protesters want the army, which has now taken over power, to give way to a civilian government.

We beg for a different life

Sudanese Dutch people are happy with the #BlueforSudan promotion. Student and political activist Solafa Saad (28) has been living in the Netherlands for two years. Her family still lives in Khartoum and also participates in the demonstrations. She also has a blue profile photo on Facebook and Twitter.

“I hope that as a result of this action more attention will be paid to what is happening in Sudan. It is so incredibly cruel what is happening there. And so far there has been little media attention.”

She believes it is important that the young people who are now taking to the streets in Sudan are not alone. “Young people, women, they play such a big role in the demonstrations. They are so brave. We beg for a different life. That … the dictatorship comes to an end. We want radical change.”

Blue is the colour of the revolution

Abdulrazik Khamis also believes that the world should know what is going on in Sudan. In 2014 he fled from Darfur to the Netherlands. Khamis: “We want other countries to stop supporting the military regime and have a civilian government.”

To him, blue is the colour of the revolution, which is not yet finished. “We are only at the beginning, but we are continuing. And we are optimistic. Eventually, there will be a change.”

Tens of thousands protested in the capital Khartoum Sunday, demanding Sudan’s military junta hand power to a civilian-led government in a rally dubbed the “march of millions.” They were joined by thousands more in cities across the country seeking justice for the victims killed in the months-long movement for democracy: here.

Sudanese dictatorship’s bloodbath of pro-democracy protesters


This 4 June 2019 video says about itself:

After bloody attack, Sudan army scraps agreements with protesters

The head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council says there will be no more negotiations with opposition groups and is calling for elections to be held within nine months.

Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has also apologised for the violent crackdown on Monday, which saw at least 35 people killed, according to protest groups.

But protesters say it’s too little, too late and want an immediate transfer of power to civilians. Al Jazeera’s Alexi O’Brien reports.

By Bill Van Auken:

Military massacres protesters in Sudan

4 June 2019

Security forces in Sudan launched a bloodbath early Monday morning, using live ammunition to break up a more than five-month-old sit-in outside the country’s defense ministry in Khartoum, where tens of thousands of Sudanese have regularly gathered to demand an end to military rule and the transfer of power to a democratically elected government.

The Sudanese Doctors’ Committee put the confirmed death toll late Monday at over 30 and said that at least 116 people had been wounded. At least one of those who were killed is a child, an eight-year-old cut down by gunfire. The casualty figures are expected to rise dramatically, with many protesters still unaccounted for, and reports of security forces dumping bodies into the Nile River. Similar murderous repression reportedly has also been unleashed against protesters outside of the Sudanese capital.

Victims of Monday’s massacre

Troops from various military and police units descended upon the encampment, led by soldiers wearing the desert camouflage fatigues of the Rapid Support Force (RSF), a brutally repressive paramilitary outfit that has been used by the regime in Khartoum to suppress regional rebellions in Darfur and in the east of the country. The RSF is led by Lt. Gen. Hamdan Dagalo (popularly known as “Hemeti”), the deputy chair of the country’s currently ruling junta, the Transitional Military Council (TMC), and widely viewed as an aspiring dictator.

And a pal of the regime of the Saudi crown prince, because he sends Sudanese child soldiers to help the Saudi bloody war against the people of Yemen.

The troops rushed in using tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition. Video posted online showed soldiers with whips surrounding and flogging unarmed demonstrators, including elderly men and women.

Photographs were also posted of snipers deployed in high rise buildings overlooking the protest site. They opened fire on anyone attempting to record the events with cellphone cameras.

One protester recounted: “They shot me in my right thigh because I was carrying someone with a bullet wound to his head … An officer hit me with his gun and I dropped the man I was carrying. He then stepped away and shot him again in the head and told me ‘now you can go bury him.’”

In addition to shooting and beating protesters, the troops burned down tents erected at the sit-in and sealed off the area with machine gun-mounted trucks.

There were also reports of armed security forces besieging local hospitals where the wounded had been taken, firing live ammunition inside the facilities and blocking volunteers and doctors from entering. Video shared by doctors showed security forces beating medical staff at the Royal Care Hospital in Khartoum.

Protesters driven out of the site outside the defense ministry continued to demonstrate and erect barricades in the streets of Khartoum and the neighboring city of Omdurman. In neighborhoods throughout Khartoum, people poured into the streets to protest the junta’s actions, barricading streets with bricks and burning tires and blocking bridges. Similar mobilizations were seen in Omdurman. Firing by security forces continued to be reported in both cities as well as elsewhere in Sudan.

Protesters erect barricades in streets of Khartoum

Among the chants heard were: “If you disperse the sit-in, we will protest in every street” and “You’ll have to kill us all.”

Shortly before the military onslaught against the protesters, the regime cut off power to the area. The internet was also shut down throughout Sudan.

The ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC) issued a preposterous statement claiming that the crackdown had targeted only “unruly elements” from a neighborhood adjacent to the protest site, nicknamed “Colombia” and known for a high crime rate.

“What is going on is targeting Colombia adjacent to the sit-in area and not targeting the sit-in. Dangerous groups infiltrated among the protesters in the sit-in area,” a spokesman for the TMC said.

He went on to call for a “return to negotiations” between the junta and opposition groups organized under the umbrella of the Forces for the Declaration of Freedom and Change (FDFC) as “the quickest way to resolve the problem.”

In the face of mass protests, the TMC seized power on April 11 in a preemptive coup against the 30-year ruler of Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir. Its aim has been to preserve the military-dominated regime by ousting its chief.

The assault on the protest had been openly prepared for days after negotiations between the junta and the civilian opposition front broke down over whether a military or a civilian would head a transitional regime during a proposed two-year transitional period in preparation for presidential elections.

Demonstrators remained in the streets, rejecting the protracted transition and demanding an immediate end to the ruling junta.

On Saturday, the ruling TMC issued a statement declaring that the “sit-in has become a threat to the country.”

While Washington issued a pro-forma statement from an undersecretary at the State Department condemning the “coordinated and unlawful violence” in Khartoum and a vague opinion that the Sudanese people “deserve a civilian-led government that works for the people, not an authoritarian military council that works against them”, the reality is that the military crackdown was prepared in the closest collaboration with the principal US allies in the region.

The shift toward iron-fisted repression immediately followed a tour conducted by the head of the TMC, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and his deputy, Lt. Gen. Dagalo, of the three countries that have been the main backers of the military regime, which are also Washington’s chief allies in the Arab world: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

It is clear that Cairo, Riyadh and Dubai—with Washington’s tacit blessing—gave the green light for the bloodbath.

The assault on the sit-in recalls the even bloodier crackdown organized by Egypt’s dictatorial ruler Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo’s Rabaa Square in 2013, killing at least 1,000 people, including women and children, who were protesting the Sisi-led coup that toppled Egypt’s elected president, Mohamed Morsi. Having drowned in blood the Egyptian revolution that overthrew the 30-year US-backed dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, el-Sisi has no intention of seeing a similar revolutionary upheaval struggle unfold unhindered in Egypt’s southern neighbor, Sudan.

The Cairo regime issued a statement demanding that “all Sudanese sides commit to calm, self-restraint and return to the negotiating table.”

As for Saudi Arabia and the UAE, their ruling monarchs have pledged $3 billion to prop up Sudan’s ruling junta. The Sudanese military has in return sent troops to support Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s near-genocidal war against Yemen.

During their visit, the UAE’s ruling crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, pledged to help the Sudanese generals “preserve Sudan’s security and stability.”

Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the organizer of last year’s brazen murder of Jamal Khashoggi as well as dozens of beheadings of political dissidents, presumably offered similar backing.

After the meeting in Riyadh, Lt. Gen. Dagalo stated that “Sudan stands with the kingdom against all threats and attacks from Iran and the Houthis (Yemen’s anti-Saudi rebels).”

Such allegiance undoubtedly trumps all other considerations in Washington, where the focus of Middle East policy has been the consolidation of an anti-Iranian axis in preparation for a new and far more dangerous US imperialist war of aggression in the region.

At the same time, there is fear within US imperialist circles as well as among the ruling strata throughout the Middle East and North Africa that the popular revolt in Sudan will feed the growing wave of strikes and mass protests in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and throughout the region.

The only means of defeating the counterrevolutionary conspiracies of Washington, its regional allies and the Sudanese ruling clique lies in an independent struggle led by the working class to take power and seize the country’s wealth as part a broader struggle of the working class throughout the region and internationally to put an end to capitalism and build a socialist society.

See also here.

Sudanese workers strike against military dictators


This 28 May 2019 video says about itself:

In Sudan, protest leaders are increasing the pressure on the transitional military council to hand over power to a civilian-run administration.

A two-day strike is underway with workers nationally walking off the job.

Protesters are hoping the strike will force military leaders into a new round of negotiations.

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan reports from Khartoum.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Sudanese Workers Launch Two-Day General Strike

29th May 2019

THE Sudanese Alliance for Freedom and Change has launched a two-day revolutionary nationwide strike to force the still ruling military council to transfer power to a people’s authority. The action was launched after talks with the Transitional Military Council (TMC) broke down.

Sudan’s ruling generals – who set up the TMC after ousting president Omar al-Bashir last month – are fearful of the huge mass movement of the working class and the poor which has emerged. It has sent shock waves all over all over Africa, north and south, including Algeria, Libya, Egypt and South Africa.

The masses are insisting that any new governing body must be civilian. Chanting ‘Civilian rule! Civilian rule!’ workers at Khartoum Airport went on strike yesterday. Workers at Khartoum’s main bus terminal also joined the strike carrying banners reading: ‘Today, tomorrow no buses as we are on strike’.

Siddiq Farukh, one of the leaders spelt out the workers’ message to the whole world that the Sudanese people want a real change and ‘they don’t want the power to be with the military’.

The strikers warned that the strikes will go on indefinitely, and that lawyers, prosecutors, and workers in the electricity, water, public transport, railway, telecommunication, and civil aviation sectors are also going to join.

On April 11, President Bashir was ousted by the military who were fearful, following million-strong anti-government protests, that the working class and the poor were about to take the power.

Tens of thousands of protesters continue to camp outside the army headquarters in Khartoum demanding that the ruling generals hand over power to a people’s authority.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has reportedly pledged to continue supporting Sudan’s military transition council if Khartoum agrees to keep its [child soldier] forces in Yemen. Bin Salman and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo reached the agreement when they met in the Saudi city of Jeddah last Friday.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have announced their support for the transitional military council. They have also expressed support for measures taken by the council following Bashir’s ousting.

British workers must give their full support to theolutionary mass action of the poor, the working class and sections of the middle class in the Sudan.

Britain was the colonial power in the Sudan and has a huge debt to repay. In 1898, British forces under the command of Lord Kitchener used modern weapons – machine guns and howitzers – to slaughter the forces led by the Mahdi, who were armed with swords and spears.

Kitchener’s army comprised 8,200 British and 17,600 Egyptian troops, 44 guns and 20 Maxims, supported by 10 steamers mounting 36 guns and 24 Maxims. The British cavalry regiment, the 21st Lancers, numbered Winston Churchill amongst its ranks. He bought a Mauser pistol before leaving Britain for use in the Sudan.

In the cavalry charge, Churchill records that he chose to use his pistol rather than his sword when he was challenged by a giant Sudanese swordsman.

Today the revolutionary boot is on the other foot, and the masses of the Sudan and the workers and the poor throughout Africa are on the march fighting for a decent life and to put an end to imperialist domination exercised by imperialist stooges.

A successful Sudanese revolution that puts a revolutionary people into power will impact all over Africa from Algeria, Libya and Egypt, down to Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The British working class must give its full support to the embattled Sudanese people. One of the best ways to support the Sudanese masses is to stop all UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States who are planning intervention in the Sudan to restore the old ruling powers to continue the enslavement of the masses.

They must also demand that the UK supports the new Sudanese government, recognises it, and pays hefty compensation for the outrages and super-exploitation that took place when Sudan was under the heel of the UK ruling class.

Sudan’s dictator gone, dictatorship not yet


This 12 April 2019 video says about itself:

Sudan between hope and despair | DW News

The army has seized power in Sudan and warns anti-government protestors to stay off the streets as it imposes a strict curfew. It’s not quite what demonstrators were hoping for when they demanded the end to the presidency of Omar al-Bashir.

By Jean Shaoul:

Pre-emptive military coup ousts Bashir to protect Sudan’s elite

12 April 2019

Sudan’s army has stepped in to oust President Omar al-Bashir, in an effort to put an end to the months of mass protests and strikes calling for the ouster of his regime.

Awad Ibn Auf, the minister of defence and deputy president, announced Thursday that the military had arrested al-Bashir, who seized power in a coup in 1989, suspended the constitution, shut border crossings and closed the country’s airspace for the next 24 hours.

He declared a three-month state of emergency, putting the country under military rule, and said that the army would oversee a two-year transitional period leading up to elections. Political prisoners would be released, he claimed.

The military coup follows four months of social unrest triggered by a government decision that tripled the price of bread. The spontaneous protests quickly developed into nationwide anti-government demonstrations calling for al-Bashir to step down. The movement drew in ever broader sections of the population with nationwide strikes of workers, including at Port Sudan on the Red Sea, and several work stoppages and protests at major telecom providers and other corporations.

Al-Bashir responded with brutal measures aimed at crushing resistance to the government, including the use of live ammunition by snipers, tear gas and baton charges. At least 60 people have been killed, including children and medics, some of whom died in prison as a result of torture.

Security forces arrested hundreds of demonstrators, with at least 800 sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment. Women were sentenced to floggings. There have been numerous arrests of oppositionists, including leaders of the main opposition Umma Party and the Sudan Communist Party (SCP).

In February, al-Bashir announced a year-long state of emergency, making mass demonstrations illegal, and dismissed his cabinet and all the 18 provincial governments, replacing the governors with military and security officers.

This did little to curb the widespread unrest over unemployment, soaring inflation and controls on accessing foreign currency and cash that have made living conditions intolerable. There is enormous popular hatred of al-Bashir’s regime for its never-ending wars in different parts of the country, brutal repression, corruption and indifference to endemic poverty.

The regime has suppressed all opposition to its policies over the last 30 years and waged war against its own people in South Sudan and Darfur, with armed conflicts still ongoing in South Kordofan and Blue Nile provinces, in what has become known as Sudan’s third civil war.

Al-Bashir announced his resignation from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), appointing his close associate Ahmad Harun as deputy head of the NCP, who called for a “national dialogue.” But this was understood as a manoeuvre to win over some elements of the bourgeois opposition and maintain NCP rule via stage-managed elections in 2020—where Harun or Bashir would run.

The powerful movement of the Sudanese working class is part of a growing movement of strikes and demonstrations by workers across North Africa—in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco—and around the world.

Sudan’s rallies have been led by a coalition that includes the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA) of doctors, lawyers and teachers, the National Consensus Forces (NCF), Sudan Call, the Unionist Gathering and the Umma Party.

Limiting the movement to al-Bashir’s ouster would always serve to give the regime a facelift, as has now been proven. …

Masses of workers and youth have come out onto the streets, not for a military coup or political reshuffle at the top, but rather a fundamental transformation of the entire social order. Since Saturday, the anniversary of the military coup ‎that forced Jaafar Nimeiri to step down in ‎1985 after 16 years in power following massive protests, there have been mass demonstrations outside the military’s headquarters in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. At least 800,000 people took part Saturday, with the number swelling to 2 million the next day, the biggest protest against the government in Sudan’s tumultuous history.

There were reports of some soldiers intervening to protect demonstrators after ‎security forces tried to disperse a mass sit-in outside the defence ministry, with al-Bashir’s gunmen killing at least 20 people.

On Monday, Al-Ahram Online reported after Sunday’s meeting of the National Defence and Security Council, headed by al-Bashir, “It has become clear that the army has picked its side.” The council issued a statement published by the Sudanese official news agency that “the protesters ‎represent a segment of society that must be heard.” ‎It had cooked up a deal for al-Bashir to step aside, with the military intervening “on the side of the people”.

According to Al-Ahram, the army was split over al-Bashir’s replacement, with one faction opposed to Defence Minister Auf because, like al-Bashir, he is wanted by the International ‎Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur when he was head of military intelligence. Al-Bashir’s forces are accused of killing up to 400,000 people. Other military figures tipped for the post are retired Armed Forces Chief of General Staff Lieutenant-General Emad Al-‎Din Mustafa Adawi and Lieutenant-General Kamal Abdul-Marouf, the military’s joint chief of staff. ‎

The coup was clearly green-lighted by the United States and the UK, the former colonial power in Sudan, along with Sudan’s neighbour, the Egyptian dictator General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who made his second visit to the White House earlier this week. El-Sisi’s discussions with President Donald Trump were held against the backdrop of a similar attempt to neuter anti-regime protests in Algeria—with the military announcing the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika—as well as the raging civil war in Libya.

Referring to Libya and Sudan, el-Sisi said, “We cannot afford a leadership emerging in Libya or Sudan that tolerates, or even worse condones, militant Islamic activity. This is why … we are keeping a close eye on any possible transition of power in Sudan.”

On Wednesday, the US, Britain and Norway, who played a key role in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended a 30-year civil war and paved the way for the secession of South Sudan, issued a statement backing a pre-emptive coup. The statement said, “The time has come for the Sudanese authorities to respond to these popular demands in a serious and credible way. The Sudanese people are demanding a transition to a political system that is inclusive and has greater legitimacy.”

While the fall of al-Bashir was greeted with euphoria, the demonstrations have continued. Some protesters mocked the announcement, with one tweeting, “LOL, Awad Ibn Auf probably walked out [after] that speech and went straight to Bashir at his house arrest.”

The Sudanese Professionals Association said, “It’s a coup and we’re not budging” and called for protests to continue until authority is passed on to “a civilian transitional government that represents the revolution’s forces.”

… The only way to establish a democratic regime in Sudan is through a struggle led by the working class to take power and expropriate the ill-gotten wealth of the entire ruling class, in the context of a broad international struggle of the working class against capitalism and for the building of socialism.

AL-BASHIR’S HORRIFIC LEGACY Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president deposed by his own military after mass protests against his 30-year dictatorship, played a central role in some of the worst atrocities of the past century and left a legacy of human suffering. [HuffPost]

Sudanese keep fighting Bashir dictatorship


This 25 July 2018 video says about itself:

Former Sudanese Prime Minister on the CIA, Omar al-Bashir and War Crimes in Yemen

We speak to the former Prime Minister of Sudan Sadiq al-Mahdi, who is now the opposition leader and the chair of Sudan Call, about the historic signing of a peace deal between Sudan and South Sudan.

By Jean Shaoul:

Protests against Sudan’s al-Bashir regime enter fourth month

30 March 2019

On Monday, Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, saw journalists protesting to demand press freedom.

Since a wave of opposition demonstrations began on December 19, the government has routinely blocked Internet access and social media networks and censored the media. It has demanded that the newspapers submit their articles for review before printing, seized rolls of newspaper and banned foreign journalists from reporting on the protests.

Some newspapers, including Al-Maidan, Akhbar al-Watan and Al-Baath have been off the streets for more than 70 days since January. According to the Sudanese Journalists’ Network, which organised the protest, some 90 journalists critical of the government have been arrested. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says the number of arrests is unprecedented.

On February 22, the authorities arrested Othman Mirghani, editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper al-Tayar, shortly after he gave a televised interview criticising President Omar al-Bashir’s declaration of a state of emergency. He remains in custody without being charged.

The protests take place amidst the most sustained challenge to al-Bashir’s rule since he seized power in a 1989 coup. Triggered by a government decision that tripled the price of bread, the protests quickly developed into anti-government demonstrations across the country calling for al-Bashir to step down. They have drawn in ever-broader sections of the population, with nationwide strikes of workers on March 5 and 13.

Sit-ins have taken place at universities and schools, and there have been strikes by public and private sector workers, including those at Port Sudan on the Red Sea, the main gateway for Sudan’s imports and exports, who are demanding its sale to a Philippine company based in Dubai be halted. There have also been work stoppages and protests at major telecom providers and other corporations.

Al-Bashir has responded with brutal measures aimed at crushing all resistance, including the use of live ammunition by snipers, tear gas and baton charges. Officials say 31 people have died in protest-related violence since December, but Human Rights Watch has put the death toll at 57, including children and medics, some of whom have died in prison as a result of torture.

There have been numerous arrests including that of Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi, deputy leader of the main opposition Umma Party (and daughter of the prime minister whom al-Bashir ousted in 1989) and 15 others while demonstrating in front of Umma’s headquarters in Omdurman, Sudan’s second largest city.

On February 22, al-Bashir announced a year-long state of emergency—the first in 20 years—and dismissed his cabinet and all 18 provincial governments, replacing the governors with military and security officers. The newly reshuffled government under Mohamed Tahir Eila is the third to be formed in less than two years.

The state of emergency grants the authorities unprecedented powers to ban protests, public meetings and political activities, and gives the police and security forces more power to arbitrarily detain people indefinitely, search buildings and seize property. While Sudan’s parliament has approved the decree for six months, not a year, it can be extended at any time.

Special emergency courts, set up to prosecute people for taking part in demonstrations, imposed harsh sentences against more than 800 protesters—some given jail terms of up to five years as well as fines—in the space of a week. Three weeks ago, the courts sentenced nine women protesters to 20 lashes each—since overturned—one day after al-Bashir issued a presidential decree ordering the release of 150 women protesters from prison to mark International Women’s Day.

On March 27, an emergency court in Omdurman sentenced three protesters, including two female university students, to six months in prison for taking part in an anti-government rally in the city.

None of this repression has deterred the demonstrations and strikes. Rallies have taken place over unemployment, soaring inflation, and controls on accessing foreign currency and cash that are making living conditions intolerable. Above all, they are aimed at al-Bashir’s regime.

The government insists that the problems are economic and stem from 20 years of US sanctions and the secession in 2011 of oil-rich South Sudan. It is desperately seeking loans from Abu Dhabi, other international investment, an end to black-market foreign exchange transactions and a deal with South Sudan that will restart the latter’s oil production and its transit to overseas markets through Sudan.

To dampen down opposition, al-Bashir has resigned as head of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), appointing his close associate Ahmad Harun as its deputy head. Harun has announced a national dialogue in a bid to win over some elements of the opposition and maintain NCP rule via stage-managed elections in which Harun or Bashir would run and thereby forestall any attempt by sections of the armed forces, in the name of “the people”, to oust them.

The powerful movement of the Sudanese working class is part of a growing wave of strikes and demonstrations by workers across North Africa, including in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, as well as around the world.

Sudan’s opposition rallies have been led by an umbrella group, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, that includes the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA), the National Consensus Forces (NCF), Sudan Call, the Unionist Gathering and the Umma Party, with the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) playing a crucial role.

According to the secretary of the SCP’s information bureau, Dr Fathi Elfad, who is one of at least 40 senior party leaders who have been arrested, the SCP has sought to “build the broadest possible alliance of political parties, armed groups, mass democratic organisations, professional unions, workers’ and peasants’ movements, as well as students’ and women’s unions.”

They are all demanding constitutional change and for al-Bashir to go. …

At least 80 percent of the Sudanese population live on less than US$1 per day. Some 5.5 million of the country’s 40 million population needed humanitarian assistance in 2018, an increase of 700,000 on 2017. Around 2.47 million children suffer from acute malnutrition.

In 2018, there were an estimated 1.2 million refugees and asylum seekers living in Sudan, including nearly 500,000 South Sudanese refugees who fled the civil war that erupted in 2013, as well as nearly 2 million internally displaced persons following Sudan’s decades of internal conflicts and droughts.

The critical question is the development of an independent political strategy and the formation of a new revolutionary leadership. It means forming popular organs of power, based on the working class, to fight to overthrow and replace the al-Bashir regime with a workers’ government.

ARMY FORCED OMAR AL-BASHIR TO STEP DOWN Tens of thousands of Sudanese were making their way to the center of the country’s capital on Thursday, cheering and clapping in celebration as two senior officials said the military had forced longtime autocratic President Omar al-Bashir to step down after 30 years in power. [AP]

Bahrain dictatorship supports Sudan dictatorship


This tweet, by Bahraini pro-democracy activist Ebrahim Sharif, shows how the Bahraini royal dictatorship censors criticism of the Sudanese ‘republican’ military dictatorship; like it also censors criticism of the Saudi regimeBahraini regimeSudanese regime‘s war on the people of Yemen.

Sudan dictatorship kills pro-democracy protesters


This 26 December 2018 video says about itself:

Sudan Protests: Rallies are biggest since Bashir took office

It’s rare to see people in Sudan protesting against their president, but in the past week, there have been demonstrations demanding the end to almost 30 years of rule by Omar al Bashir. In Khartoum, at least three people have been killed during the latest protests, when security forces fired tear gas and bullets in the air. 22 people have died since last Wednesday. Ali Mustafa has the latest.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Sudanese CP calls for solidarity after five killed and 80 injured in Khartoum crackdown

SUDANESE communists called for international support after at least five people were killed and 80 injured at a mass anti-government demonstration in Khartoum on Wednesday.

Security forces blocked a march in the capital, arresting scores of protesters including five members of the Sudanese Communist Party’s central committee.

Journalists started a two-day strike yesterday in support of the movement, joining doctors who walked out on Monday as the anti-government demonstrations continue to grow.

Protests started in towns and villages on December 19 after the price of bread was trebled and the unrest soon spread to Khartoum.

Anger over an economic crisis which has seen inflation running as high as 70 per cent has led to demands for the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir, who came to power in a 1989 coup.

Sudanese authorities have responded to the protests with violence and opposition groups say at least 37 people have been killed in the ensuing clashes.

The Sudanese Journalists’ Network said yesterday: “We declare a three-day strike from December 27 to protest against the violence unleashed by the government against demonstrators.”

They warned of a “barbaric” assault on press freedoms, including censorship and confiscation of newspapers by the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service.

Armed forces prevented Wednesday’s mass demonstration from reaching the Republican Palace, where it planned to present a list of demands to Mr Bashir, urging him to stand down.

Live bullets were fired as pitched battles spilled onto the main roads and side streets of Khartoum, with five killed and at least 80 suffering serious injury.

Mr Bashir has responded to the outburst of popular anger by promising reforms, but he has failed to implement measures that address extreme levels of poverty created by the financial crisis.

The trade union coalition that has led the protests warned that the Sudanese people “have crossed the point of no return on the path of change.”

It promised to “pursue all options of peaceful, popular actions … until we bring down the regime that continues to shed blood.

“Today, more than any time before, we are confident in our collective ability to realise that.”

In a statement, the Sudanese Communist Party called on “all fraternal parties to intensify their support initiatives as the struggle of our people is reaching higher levels.

“We urge the Sudanese people to continue their demonstrations until success is achieved by overthrowing the regime.

“We also call on all opposition parties to unite and work together to co-ordinate this movement.”