October Revolution

Sudanese youth seek to follow Egypt and Tunisia with mass protests

January 29, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese youth have called for a mass demonstration on Sunday, inspired by the thousands of protesters who have defied authorities in Tunisia and Egypt by calling for their leaders to step down.

Emails, text messages and posts on social networking website Facebook have encouraged Sudanese to take to the streets of Khartoum to challenge the government.

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One of the images used by organisers and supporters of the planned demonstration in Khartoum on Sunday 30 January.

On Friday, thousands of protesters in Cairo ignored a curfew imposed by state authorities to continue demonstrations, which began on Tuesday. The anti-government rallies, on a scale never seen before in Egypt, led to clashes between protesters and security forces.

Echoing the uprising in Tunisia, which saw President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flee the country, tens of thousands of Egyptian’s in many of cities went to the streets after Friday prayers calling for the removal of long serving President Hosni Mubarak.

Mubarak has rejected the calls for him to step down and instead instructed the army to try and restore order. He later announced that he would appoint a new government on Saturday to address the demands made by the protesters.

Analysts say that events in Tunisia and Egypt over the last weeks have emboldened citizens and opposition leaders across the Arab world.

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One of the images used by organisers and supporters of the planned demonstration in Khartoum on Sunday 30 January.

An email seen on Friday, which Sudan Tribune has paraphrased due to spelling errors, called for mass demonstrations in Khartoum on Sunday saying it was the ‘right time to rise against oppression and despair’.

‘Everyone could do something positive’ the email said, ‘we shall rise and leave behind passiveness… We have to do this, for our children to live with dignity… for us to live the life that every human deserves.’

‘If the Egyptians can break the fear barrier… so can we. WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR!!!’

The email, also posted on the internet, went on to note that previous Sudanese governments have been overthrown by popular uprisings.

Tunisia’s protests are being widely reported as the first time an Arab leader has been ousted by a popular uprising. However, Sudan, a member of the Arabic league, despite its significant non-Arab and non-Islamic groups has seen two leaders deposed by popular uprisings.

In 1964 the October Revolution saw the end of General Abboud’s military regime and in 1985 when Jaafar Nimeiri was deposed by the military after another popular uprising.

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One of the images used by organisers and supporters of the planned demonstration in Khartoum on Sunday 30 January.

The email said the place and time for the planned demonstrations would be announced on facebook and encouraged people to ‘send it to your phone contacts..print it and give it to your neighbors.. in transport and n the streets …bring other sectors along.. professions.. doctors.. workers .. start the fire’.

The organizers in Khartoum, say they suspect that Facebook may be blocked by the government and have established various other websites to host information about the protests. The Tunisian government blocked Facebook and the twitter another networking website to try and stop the protests there two weeks ago.

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The messaged received when trying to access website tinyurl.com, a website used to shorten websites so than can be used with the social media website twitter.com, from inside Sudan.

For the last three days tinyurl.com, a website that makes website addresses smaller so that they can fit into the 140 characters allowed on social-networking-tool twitter, has been blocked by the Sudanese National Telecommunications Cooperation. Compared to Facebook, twitter is not as popular in Sudan and it is unclear why the site has been blocked or if it is related to events in Tunisia and Egypt.

Organizers have also provided instructions on how to deal with tear gas if it is used by security forces.

The posting on Facebook said that the protest would be held at various locations in Khartoum and across the Nile in the city of Omdurman.

Like the protests in Tunisia and Egypt the organizers of the planned protests on Sunday present themselves as not being backed by any single political party but rather a mobilization of people with common grievances through word of mouth, mobile phones and social media.

The demands of the proposed Khartoum protests mirror those elsewhere, in that they call for action to be taken to address unemployment, price rises, lack of democracy and apparent dissatisfaction with a long serving president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir who has been in power since a 1989 coup.

However, Sudan’s situation differs from the regional tensions as the events in North Africa come at a time that is already extremely politically sensitive for Sudan’s northern government. As well as rising food prices aggravated by an acute shortage of foreign currency reserves and a decline in the value of the Sudanese pound, the north is poised to lose the oil-rich south of the country through a recently conducted referendum.

The poll was agreed as part of a 2005 peace deal between rebels from Sudan’s south, where Christianity and traditional African beliefs are most common, and Bashir’s National Congress Party in the Islamic and Arab dominated north.

In recent weeks the jubilation of being at the cusp of independence in Sudan’s south has been in stark contrast to the mood in the north, where many see the separation of the south as huge loss.

As of Saturday morning over 8,000 people have said they will attend Sunday’s protests in Khartoum, according the events Facebook page.

Facebook users have also shown their support for the campaign to changing the image that accompanies their account to won with the number 30, indicating the date of the planned protests.

On Friday evening police in some areas of Khartoum began searching vehicles traveling after midnight.

(ST)

Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/Sudanese-youth-seek-to-follow,37798

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