Women’s football gains momentum in Sudan
*Sudanese female footballers have found their voice and are ready to take the sport to the next level.*
Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
The military regime in Sudan has closed all schools in the country indefinitely. With this, the regime responds to large-scale demonstrations by students in protest against the shooting of five people at a demonstration in the city of El Obeid, more than 400 kilometres southwest of the capital Khartoum. Four of them were students.
The protesters protested Monday about the increase in bread and fuel prices in Sudan, when snipers opened fire on the crowd. Dozens of people were injured.
The result was that in Khartoum and other cities hundreds of students, dressed in school uniforms and waving Sudanese flags, took to the streets yesterday. The authorities then closed all schools, from kindergartens to secondary schools, until further notice. In El Obeid the state of emergency has been declared and there is a curfew.
“The authorities are aware that the boiling point has been reached in the streets of Sudan,” says Africa correspondent Koert Lindijer. “It is not the first massacre in recent weeks. People are furious with the military and in particular the Rapid Support Forces militia. They have been made responsible for the massacre in El Obeid and demonstrators are now demanding that it be removed from Khartoum. With the schools closed, the authorities hope to get rid of the protest.”
UNICEF has protested to the regime and calls for an investigation into the events in the city. “No child should be buried in a school uniform”, says a statement from the UN children’s rights organization. The junta’s chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, condemned the shooting. “Shooting peaceful civilians is an unacceptable crime.”
Two weeks ago it was agreed that the generals would share power in Sudan with six civilians. There would be further talk about the political future yesterday, but that consultation was canceled by the opposition.
Even before Monday’s shooting, there was a lot of anger about the conclusions of an investigation into the bloody break up of a massive protest against the junta in Khartoum on 3 June. A camp of protesters was attacked there, according to doctors 127 people died. The soldiers and the public prosecutor claimed it was seventeen dead.
Tens of thousands of students and youth took to the streets this week, after Sudan’s armed forces opened fire on a youth rally over bread and fuel shortages in El-Obeid, the regional capital of North Kordofan, Monday. Six people were killed, including four school children, and more than 60 injured. The military junta has now closed down all the nation’s schools: here.
This 28 July 2019 South African TV video says about itself:
DISCUSSION: Calls mount for the release of journalist Sadiq al-Rizaigi
Sudan union of journalists is calling for the release of journalist Sadiq al-Rizaigi.
From daily News Line in Britain:
‘Free Sudanese journalist Sadiq Rizaigi now!’ – NUJ
30th July 2019
‘SUDANESE generals must free journalist Sadiq Rizaigi now!’ the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK and Ireland demanded yesterday joining calls from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) for his immediate release.
Rizaigi is the head of the Sudanese Journalists Union (SJU). He was arrested and held by the Sudanese authorities on 24 July.
Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said yesterday: ‘We demand transparency about the reasons for the arrest of our colleague Sadiq.
‘He must be immediately released and, in the event that charges are brought against him, he must have the right to a fair and transparent legal process.
‘We will not rest until Sadiq is free and the injustice stopped.’
Following an emergency meeting on 25 July the Sudanese Journalists Union issued the following statement:
‘The Sudanese Journalists Union (SJU) held an emergency meeting this Thursday morning, July 25 2019, to discuss the arrest of Sadiq Rizaigi, president of the SJU, president of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), chairman of the East African Journalists Association (EAJA), vice president of the Federation of Arab Journalists (FAJ).
‘We lost contact with the president of SJU since Wednesday afternoon, July 24 2019, and later it became clear that he was detained but we did not have any information on the reason for his arrest.
‘The executive office of the SJU demands the Transitional Military Council (TMC) immediately releases the president of the SJU and explains the reason for his arrest, and to present him with a prompt and fair trial if he is proved to warrant arrest and trial.
‘The executive office has formed a committee for immediate contact with the TMC and relevant authorities to know the circumstances of his arrest.
‘The executive office will remain in constant session to follow up the matter and to provide information to the public on a timely basis.
‘The executive office thanks the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the East African Journalists Association (EAJA) and the Federation of Arab Journalists (FAJ) who expressed deep concern over his arrest.’
UPDATE, 30 July 2019, from AFP news agency:
Detained senior editor freed in Sudan
Sadiq Al Rizaigi heads Sudanese Journalists’ Union
Khartoum: A top Sudanese editor who had been detained last week in the capital Khartoum was freed on Monday, a senior member of the journalists’ union that he heads said.
Rizaigi, who heads the Sudanese Journalists’ Union, has been freed, a member of the union’s board Osama Abdelmajid said.
“We still don’t know why he had been detained,” Abdelmajid said.
RSF ranks Sudan 175th out of 180 countries in its 2019 World Press Freedom Index.
This 12 July 2019 video says about itself:
Sudan‘s Livestream Massacre – Documentary – BBC Africa Eye
On June 3, 2019, there was a massacre on the streets of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. This is the story of that massacre, told through the phone cameras of those who kept filming, even as they came under live fire.
BBC Africa Eye has now analysed more than 300 videos shot in Khartoum on June 3rd. Using these videos, we can bring you a shocking, street-level view of the violence that was inflicted on protesters that morning – and the first direct testimony from men who say they took part in this attack.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
Anger in Sudan about government report conclusions about mass slaughter
In the Sudanese capital Khartoum, hundreds of people took to the streets late last night. They protested against the results of a government investigation into the bloody crushing of a sit-in last month at the army headquarters.
Researchers who investigated the events on 3 June by order of the military regime say that 87 civilians died. According to the demonstrators, that number is far too low. They say there were 127 dead and they also disagree with the conclusion in the report that the perpetrators did not act on behalf of the government.
There have been demonstrations in Sudan for months. Why actually?
The protests were initially directed against President Bashir, who came to power in the early 1990s. An international arrest warrant has been running against Bashir for years because he is held responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Sudanese Darfur region.
Years ago, Western corporate media and corporate politicians used to call Sudan a dictatorship. However, ruling General al-Bashir came back into the NATO governments’ good books by helping the 2011 NATO war on Libya (which caused bloodbath after bloodbath with no end in sight, ruin of healthcare, sharp decline in women’s rights, rise of racism, torture of refugees and others, and the comeback of slavery 170 years after its abolition).
Al-Bashir continued to be in the self-styled Free World’s good books, by helping the European Union to stop refugees. And by helping United States President Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed in their bloody war against the civilians of Yemen. As long as Bashir continued to do that, Bashir killing his own people in Darfur and elsewhere did not matter to the NATO countries’ political establishment.
The army deposed Bashir in April this year, in a relatively bloodless coup. Since then, the protesters have been asking the army that has taken over power to make way for a transitional government awaiting free elections. Despite an agreement concluded earlier this month, there is still no prospect. The conversations will continue. …
The results of the investigation committee come a few weeks after a prominent BBC program. In the documentary Sudan’s Livestream Massacre it can be seen that paramilitaries, by order of the military rulers, open fire on the protesters in Khartoum.
The documentary makers of BBC Africa Eye have analyzed over 300 videos of protesters, made when the outburst of violence was in full swing. These images have only rarely emerged, because the military council regularly blocks the internet. The paramilitaries with ties to the military council deny that they were behind the violence.
This 28 July 2019 video is called Sudanese protesters reject findings of June 3 probe.
See also here.
This 13 June 2019 video says about itself:
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.
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
Eg, the American R&B singer Ne-Yo – with 3 million followers on Instagram – now has a blue profile photo.
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.
This 29 May 2019 video says about itself:
Sudan strike: Pregnant woman killed at protest
On the second day of the strike in Sudan, protest leaders say they have the upper hand and are threatening more strikes if the Military Transitional Council doesn’t return to negotiating table. So far, the council hasn’t reacted to the protesters’ demands, accusing the protest movement of being infiltrated by what are described as ‘anti-Sudanese’ elements.
Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan reports from Khartoum.
From daily News Line in Britain:
Sudanese Military Attacking General Strike! UK Unions And Labour Must Aid Sudanese Workers
10th June 2019
THE SUDANESE military regime has once again shown its contempt for any real peace talks in the country, and its confidence that since it has the support of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the key allies of the western imperialist powers in the region, it can do anything it wants, and literally get away with mass murder.
No sooner had the Ethiopian Prime Minister left the country in a situation where the African Union had already suspended the Sudan, the military moved to attack the workers, and savagely beat and arrest Sudanese bank, airport and electricity workers early on Sunday morning, just ahead of the launching of a general strike that the trade unions had called.
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) confirmed yesterday that workers were under heavy attack from the military regime of the ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC). Pro-democracy campaigners had already said, before the Ahmed talks, that the military council could not be trusted, citing last Monday’s mass murder of up to 100 workers who were taking part in a sit-in strike in Khartoum.
However, offices and businesses, and workplaces across the the capital have now been occupied. There are also reports of gunfire as security forces seek to impose a reign of terror across the city. The protest leaders are now urging workers to stay at home and not to work and are saying that demonstrations are no longer possible because of the violent crackdown and savagery of the military.
However, the workers’ leaders are still insisting that the strike and occupation movement will only end when a civilian government replaces the military regime.
Meanwhile, the opposition politician Mohamed Esmat was detained on Friday as soon as his meeting with Ethiopia’s PM Ahmed concluded, his aides said. Ismail Jalab, a leader of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) group, and his spokesman Mubarak Ardol were also arrested early on Saturday.
This was the immediate response of the military regime to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s attempt to bring the two sides back to the negotiating table.
On Wednesday, the SPLM-N said its deputy head, Yasir Arman, had already been arrested at his house in Khartoum. Esmat and Jalab are both leading members of the Alliance for Freedom and Change, an umbrella organisation of opposition figures, protest leaders and rebel groups. ‘This amounts to a practical response from the military council that effectively rejects the Ethiopian prime minister’s mediation effort’, Khalid Omar Yousef, an opposition alliance leader correctly said.
The TMC military are being emboldened because the US and UK’s allies in the region, that is Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt are demanding that the uprising be crushed and egging the Sudanese military on to commit bigger outrages to defeat the revolution in the Sudan, before it spreads to Libya, Egypt, the Arabian peninsula and the Gulf States.
The Gulf States are pouring billions of dollars into supplies for the Sudanese military so that it can confront the revolution. Opposition activists say the feared paramilitary unit, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), killed 108 people in the crackdown, with at least 40 bodies pulled from the River Nile in Khartoum last Tuesday. The RSF, formerly known as the Janjaweed militia, gained notoriety for brutal atrocities in the Darfur conflict in western Sudan in 2003.
A number of women arrested by the RSF said they were repeatedly beaten with sticks and threatened with execution. They said RSF troops told them to run for their lives, then opened fire. Other victims, they said, were forced to drink sewage water and were urinated on.
On Thursday, the African Union suspended Sudan’s membership ‘with immediate effect’ and warned of further action if power was not transferred to a civilian authority. The Sudanese workers and youth are showing immense courage with their determination to defeat the Sudanese military and to have a civilian government that can only rule as a workers’ government.
The powerful trade unions of the UK, the EU and the US cannot allow the Sudanese workers to fight alone against these massive odds and must give them full support. They must organise political strike actions to force the US and UK governments to stop arming Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States …
The trade unions must also demand that the UK Labour Party must pledge that it will stop selling arms to the Saudis and the Gulf states when it becomes the government and that it must recognise immediately the leadership of the Sudanese trade unions as the government of the Sudan. This is the way forward to win the workers’ struggle in the Sudan and to put an end to the reactionary feudal regimes in the Gulf.
This 9 June 2019 video says about itself:
Sudanese shops closed in Sudan’s Omdurman as strike begins | AFP
Shops are shuttered in the usually busy Sudanese area of Omdurman as protesters started a general strike nearly one week after security forces launched a crackdown on a long-running sit-in site.
By Niles Niemuth:
General strike against military regime brings Sudan to a standstill
10 June 2019
An indefinite nationwide general strike brought cities across Sudan to a virtual standstill Sunday, nearly one week after security forces launched a counterrevolutionary bloodbath with an assault on a mass sit-in outside the defense ministry headquarters in Khartoum. The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors estimates that 118 protestors have been killed, including four on Sunday, and a further 784 wounded since the crackdown began last Monday.
Tens of thousands of Sudanese have been regularly gathering for months outside the defense ministry and protesting across the country as part of the popular movement that began in December 2018 demanding the end of military rule and the transfer of power to a democratically elected government.
The Transitional Military Council (TMC) seized power in a coup on April 11, ousting President Omar al-Bashir after months of mass protests in an effort to preempt a revolutionary overthrow of the entire military regime, which has been in power for three decades.
Headed by the deputy of the TMC, Lieutenant General Hamdan “Hemedti” Dagalo, who aspires to take al-Bashir’s place as dictator, Rapid Support Force (RSF) paramilitary soldiers used live fire and stun grenades to disperse the sit-in on June 3.
Dozens of protestors were forced off or thrown from the Blue Nile bridge by the RSF, some reportedly with concrete blocks tied to their bodies to ensure that they drowned and their bodies were not found. The RSF, formed out of the notorious Janjaweed militia, deployed the same brutal tactics in the heart of Khartoum utilized to suppress rebellions in Darfur and the country’s east.
The rampage came in the wake of Dagalo’s visit with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia and trips by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of the TMC and Sudan’s de facto ruler, to Abu Dhabi and Cairo, where he received pointers on drowning a revolution in blood from Egyptian dictator General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
While the Trump administration has raised concerns about the instability caused by the military crackdown, with its support, the main allies of American imperialism in the Middle East have been and continue to be key financial and political backers of the military dictatorship in Sudan. In turn, the RSF has sent thousands of its members
including child soldiers
Outraged by the brutal RSF assault, millions across the country heeded the call of the Sudanese Professional Association (SPA) trade union for a movement of “civil disobedience” and “open political strike” against the ruling Transitional Military Council.
Photos and video posted on social media showed empty streets and shuttered markets in a number of state capitals across the country, from Damazin in Blue Nile to El Obeid in North Kurdufan, Wad Madani in Al Jazirah and Port Sudan on the Red Sea.
Metro Khartoum, an urban region with more than 5 million residents, was brought to a near standstill, with public transportation shut down and most stores, banks and offices closed.
A 20-year old protestor was shot and killed in Omdurman as security forces used tear gas and live fire to disperse demonstrations. Protestors erected barricades of bricks and tires in Khartoum North to blockade major roads and bridges. Travelers filled up the departure terminal up at Khartoum International Airport as most flights were cancelled.
“We blocked the streets to send a message to those trying to steal our revolution that they will fail,” Emad Ibrahim, 25, a protester from Khartoum North told the AFP. “It is a long road ahead for us, but after the sacrifice made by our brothers who have been killed, we believe that we will achieve our goal.”
The military sought to break the strike movement by blocking social media, cutting off mobile access to the internet and arresting “essential employees”, including bank executives and airport and electrical utility workers and forcing them to work at gunpoint.
Despite this effort at intimidation, workers and professionals expressed their determination to continue striking until the junta is gone. “We will not go back to work until the [SPA union] announces the end of the strike”, Ahmad al-Noor, a 46-year-old private food company employee told Reuters. “Sudan must be governed by a civilian government.”
“The roadblocks prevented me from reaching the market to buy vegetables,” vegetable vendor Hassan Abdelrahim told the AFP. “This will impact my income, but when I look at these youngsters who are on the streets since six months, I’m not angry even if I lose my income.”
A statement released by the SPA declared that the civil disobedience campaign would continue until “a civilian government announces itself in power on state television.” The SPA is part of the Forces for Declaration of Freedom and Change (FDFC) civilian popular opposition alliance, which has been engaged in talks with the TMC over a transfer of power.
The talks broke down last month over the question of whether a military or civilian figure would head a joint regime during a three-year transition period to prepare for new presidential elections.
An effort by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to revive talks between the TMC and the FDFC coalition was spurned by the military over the weekend, with the arrests of Mohamed Esmat, director of the Khartoum branch of the Central Bank of Sudan, and Ismail Jalab, secretary general of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North. Esmat and Jalab, leading representatives of the FDFC, were detained shortly after meeting with Ahmed. …
With the first day of the general strike, the working class has shown its collective strength. What is required now is the establishment of independent and democratic organs of working class struggle to mobilize the working masses in Sudan to take power, establish a workers’ government and seize the country’s immense wealth as part of an international struggle for socialism.
This 31 December 2018 video says about itself:
Saudi Arabia has been recruiting children from desperate families in the war-torn African nation to pad up its frontlines in the Yemen war, the New York Times reported. How credible are these reports of Sudanese child soldiers fighting in Yemen? Journalist Hussain Albukhaiti explains.
Translated from Carlijne Vos in Dutch daily De Volkskrant, 5 June 2019:
Already 60 dead in the crackdown on Sudan protests, led by new strongman Hemedti
The attacks with which Sudanese security forces have been trying to put an end to peaceful protests since Monday have already killed at least 60 people. The protesters reported this in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. The crackdown was probably triggered by one man: General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, nicknamed Hemedti. Who is he?
As vice-president of the TMC (Transitional Military Council), Hemedti has emphatically come to the fore. Now, the 44-year-old general suddenly seems to have had enough of the civilian protests and has sent his paramilitarists, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). This militia, which was responsible for the war crimes in Darfur under their old name Janjaweed, is now being “loaned” to Saudi Arabia to fight against the Houthi rebels in Yemen
The Sudanese dictatorship does not just ‘loan’ Janjaweed gunmen, but also child soldiers to the Saudi regime’s bloody war on the people of Yemen.
The demonstrators hoped with their protest actions to force the military to agree to the establishment of a civilian government. …
Last week Hemedti suddenly called on the protesters to put an end to the sit-ins because they threatened order and security in Sudan. Hemedti had just returned from a visit to Saudi crown prince Bin Salman. Since then, there has been widespread speculation about a possible power grab by Hemedti. “Hemedti planned on becoming the number one man in Sudan. He has unlimited ambition”, an opposition member told The Guardian.
According to the Sudanese journalist and sympathizer of the protest organisation Sudanese Association for Professionals (SPA), Mohammed Abdelrahman, Hemedti’s actions are largely determined by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Emirates. These countries are not keen on the transfer of power to civilians – for fear of civilian uprisings in their own countries – and want the army to keep a firm grip. “Hemedti has received a lot of money from them in exchange for his militia support in Yemen. There is a lot of resistance within the opposition to the Sudanese involvement in Yemen, so Hemedti is now trying to silence them”, Abdelrahman, who lives in the Netherlands, says on the phone. “Moreover, there are also many Darfuris in the opposition, against which he has no chance when elections come.” …
The military transition council TMC announced Tuesday morning after the clash with the opposition to organize new elections in nine months. The Declaration of Forces of Freedom and Change (DFCF), the alliance of all protest parties, has rejected this proposal and calls for a general strike and “civil disobedience” until the transition council has handed over power. …
40 BODIES PULLED FROM NILE More than 40 bodies of people slain by Sudanese security forces were pulled from the Nile River in the capital of Khartoum, organizers of pro-democracy demonstrations said, and new clashes brought the death toll in three days of the ruling military’s crackdown to 108. [AP]
The counter-revolutionary bloodbath launched by the junta in Sudan’s capital Khartoum and its twin city Omdurman ongoing since Monday has killed some 100 people, including an eight-year old child, and injured hundreds more: here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This 2 June 2019 video says about itself:
Gunfire as Sudan military moves in to clear Khartoum sit-in
Gunfire as Sudan military moves in to clear Khartoum sit-in: Troops have used tear gas and fired on protesters camped out at the army headquarters in Sudan’s capital Khartoum.
Multiple injuries have been reported. The Sudanese Professionals Association says the military council has assigned a large number of troops to disperse the protest. Demonstrators say people are still coming from all over Sudan to join the sit-in. We speak to a number of protesters on the phone to update us on the situation.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
Eyewitnesses: “Sudanese militia entered hospitals and opened fire”
The stories of eyewitnesses come from the Sudanese capital Khartoum. Early this morning, paramilitaries attacked a tent camp of protesters in front of the military headquarters. The paramilitaries set fire to tents, beat up protesters, and shot the crowd with live ammunition. According to Associated Press, at least 13 people were killed and 116 injured.
On Friday, army leaders already warned that they would take action against the protesters who had been sitting every day for weeks near the army headquarters for weeks. …
Various sources tell the NOS that after that operation militia units have spread throughout the capital. They go from neighbourhood to neighbourhood and shoot at targeted groups to drive people off the streets. The sources report that snipers are on the roofs of buildings to prevent new demonstrations. Armed men have invaded a hospital and have opened fire there, say several sources.
“Can you hear the gunshots?” Mohamed Salman has just stepped outside to talk to the NOS via his mobile phone. But on the street it’s too dangerous, so he goes back inside quickly. “They arrived in my neighbourhood with many vehicles. They took positions and started to disperse small groups of people by shooting in the air and firing tear gas. I have spoken to friends in other neighbourhoods who say there aree no warning shots, only shots aimed at people.”
What happened this morning on the square in front of the military headquarters is gradually becoming clearer. Cars with armed men arrived in the square before dawn. They came from two sides of the square and surrounded the demonstrators. The men fired tear gas from one side, while shots were fired from the other direction.
Beaten and shaved
While people tried to flee, the armed men beat up protesters. “Some demonstrators – those who have dreadlocks – were shaved by the men,” Salman says on the phone.
Who are the armed men? “They are two organizations”, says Sudanese Ahmed Abushaam, who lives in the Netherlands. He explains who he means: the Sudanese secret service, and the Rapid Support Forces, the paramilitary organisation formerly called the Janjaweed, but which changed its name after the civil war in Darfur where they played a notorious role. “This is exactly how the Janjaweed operates. What they used to do in Darfur, they now do in our capital,” said Abushaam.
“We are not at all safe,” says demonstrator Abdelmonim Ali, who fled into a house on one of the outskirts of Khartoum. “We have a wounded person with us. We can’t go anyway because the snipers walk over the roofs of all the buildings on this street.”
Another demonstrator tells his story to the NOS: “The attacks started at 5 o’clock in the morning. We were on the street, but all had to flee in different direction and so I lost sight of my friends and fellow protesters. Many people I know were injured, but when I went to see the hospital there were also shots. I had to leave the building quickly and went back to my own hiding place. At the moment I see on Facebook that more and more people are revolting. In villages around the capital, people are actually taking to the streets, even if it is dangerous to do that. People are motivated by this to fight on and to rebel.”
The demonstrations that have been taking hold of Sudan for months have flared up again in recent weeks after negotiations between the army and the opposition hit an impasse. The army top brass wants to take the lead in an interim government that should provide for economic recovery and democratic elections. The opposition demands leadership by itself, and fears that senior military officers will find a way to keep the deposed President Bashir’s party in power for the long term.
Why the paramilitaries have intervened today is not certain, but several sources point to the trip abroad that Commander Hemedti made at the end of May. Hemedti, Bashir’s former right-hand man, has just returned from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. These three countries have promised billions in support for the Sudanese army commanders. The royal family in Saudi Arabia in particular wants to maintain their warm ties with Hemedti because he provides military support [child soldiers] to the Saudis … in the … war in neighbouring Yemen.
That is against ordinary Sudanese, demonstrator Abdelmonim Ali says. “The people are furious”, he says. “We thought we could make a deal with the army. But now people all over Sudan are resisting. We want change. We have demonstrated peacefully. Those who killed innocent civilians today will be on trial.”
Reuters news agency says about this 3 June 2019 video:
Sudan: at least two protesters killed in military raid on protesters’ camp
UPDATE: at least nine people killed.
Security forces in Sudan have killed at least two protesters in an early morning raid on their camp outside the army headquarters, sparking off yet even more protests in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum.
Live footage broadcast by Arab television stations showed chaotic scenes, with protesters running away as black smoke rose from tents apparently torched by the raiding force.
Activists described the raid that killed at least two people and injured dozens, as an attempt to disperse protesters demanding civilian rule.
“The protesters holding a sit-in in front of the army general command are facing a massacre in a treacherous attempt to disperse the protest”, the main protest group said in a statement, urging the Sudanese people to come to their aid.
A Reuters witness saw troops wielding batons deploy in central Khartoum and close roads, apparently to try to block people from reaching the protest site.
Nile bridges that connect various parts of the Sudanese capital have also been blocked.
Protests in Omdurman
In Omdurman, thousands of Sudanese protesters blocked roads with stones and burning tyres.
A witness told Reuters there were no security forces in the area as young men and women blocked main streets and side roads across Omdurman, which sits on the other side of the Nile river from Khartoum.
The violence comes amid a persistent deadlock in talks between protesters and Sudan’s military rulers over demands to hand over power to civilians.
The Transitional Military Council (TMC), which assumed power in April when the military ousted President Omar al-Bashir after three decades in office, has offered to let protesters form a government to run the country but insists on maintaining overall authority during an interim period.
Demonstrators want civilians to run the transitional period and lead the North African country of 40 million to democracy.
Reactions to military violence
The TMC has repeatedly said it would not use force to disperse the protesters, often comprising thousands of young men and women who take turns camping outside the Defence Ministry.
No statement about the violence has yet been issued by the TMC.
The royal dictatorship of Saudi Arabia, the main allies of the self-styled ‘free world’ in the Middle East, is propping up the military dictators in Sudan. As they want to continue to use Sudanese child soldiers as cannon fodder in their bloody war on the people of Yemen.
Years ago, many years ago, quite some people in the political establishment and the ‘celebrities’ establishment in NATO countries used to point out the bloody violence by the Sudanese regime, then led by Bashir, especially in Darfur province. Correctly so. Incorrectly, they used the crimes of the dictatorship as pretext for trying to start yet another
humanitarian oil war, this time by invading Sudan.
The silence became even louder after Bashir helped the European Union to stop refugees. And after Bashir sent soldiers, many of them child soldiers, to help in the Saudi Arabian regime-Pentagon war on the people of Yemen.
NATO countries’ governments forcibly deport refugees to Sudan, where they are tortured. Eg, the Belgian government does so.
These governments want the ‘stability’ of the grave and the torture chamber for Sudan.
The sit-in had become the focal point of protests that started in December, sparked by a severe financial crisis that caused cash shortages and bread price hikes.