Socialist Worker

Full-scale revolt at rule of Sudanese president

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2641

A solidarity protest in central London last Saturday

A solidarity protest in central London last Saturday (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Thousands of Sudanese people took to the streets on Thursday of last week in the capital Khartoum.

They called on president Omar al-Bashir to leave, in a continuation of anti-government protests that began more than 50 days ago.

The resistance began over rises in the price of bread and other basic goods.

It has since become a full-scale revolt against the Bashir regime that has ruled since a military coup 30 years ago.

In a repeat of earlier assaults, the security forces fired tear gas to disperse the protests and carried out mass arrests and beatings.

Last Thursday’s demonstration was the one of the largest ever organised in Khartoum city. Protesters chanted, “Freedom, peace, justice.”

All the roads leading to the ­presidential palace were closed with security barriers.

Dispersed

Three days later security forces violently dispersed hundreds of people, mostly young women, demonstrating against the detention of women arrested at previous ­protests.

The protesters chanted, “Long live the struggle of Sudanese women,” and “Down, that’s it,” one of the main slogans calling for the fall of Bashir.

Security forces at the protest in Omdurman, Sudan’s ­second-largest city, were seen arresting young women and taking them away in trucks.

Outrage has followed the death in custody of teacher and political activist Ahmed Al-Khair. His muddied body was delivered to his family last week and, according to relatives, there were visible signs of torture all over his body.

This led to some largely ­spontaneous teachers’ strikes.

Another high profile death, of Dr Babiker Abdelhamid, also caused fury.

Eyewitness alleged that a security officer shot him in cold blood while he was treating a wounded protester, leaving 14 shotgun pellet wounds in his body.

The incident prompted Bashir to claim, without supporting evidence, that the weapon used was not ­available in Sudan or in the possession of police and security forces.

The scale and length of the ­protests is a sign of the deep ­bitterness against Bashir—­particularly among young people.

Almost half of the population of 40 million lives below the poverty line and inflation is up 30 percentage points from a year ago.

The Sudanese Professionals Association coordinates the demonstrations and has held several powerful strikes.

It called for a protest in Omdurman on Tuesday this week and another in Khartoum on Thursday.

Solidarity protests took place in ­London and Liverpool last ­Saturday. The MENA solidarity network in ­Britain is circulating a support ­statement.
For details go to bit.ly/SudanSolidarity

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