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MiddleEastEye.net: Sudanese protesters return to streets across the country after deadly crackdown

Posted by: Berhane.Habtemariam59@web.de

Date: Wednesday, 19 June 2019

After an internet blackout orchestrated by the military, localised 'resistance committees' are rallying people once again
Protesters in Sudan are demonstrating in the capital's neighbourhoods and around the country (Reuters)
 
 

Protesters in Sudan have defied a military crackdown and internet blackout, which has hindered their ability to organise, by gathering in cities across Sudan on Tuesday night. 

Speakers from the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), who since December had spearheaded protest by relying on the internet, reportedly toured neighbourhoods of the capital Khartoum, speaking to circles of protesters gathered around them.

Khartoum residents told Middle East Eye the city has been downbeat since Sudanese forces dispersed a mass sit-in just over two weeks ago, killing at least 128 according to doctors, but that there was increasing protest activity during the nights. 

The internet has been almost entirely cut by the military council for more than two weeks, hindering the organising of protest activity, which has now fallen to localised "resistance committees" who rally their neighbours and hand out printed notices to replace digital communication. 

Neighbourhoods in the capital and towns around the country each saw hundreds of protesters on the streets, chanting for civilian government and in defiance of the ruling military council. 

"Our triumphant revolution is reconstructing across Sudan; in cities, villages and the countryside, renewing the covenant with our beloved brothers and sisters who despite their deaths live with us forever," the SPA said in a statement on Tuesday. 

"The Sudan we all want and for which they have sacrificed their lives shall become a reality, a respectable sovereign nation."

 
 

"Peacefully, peacefully, against the gun fire," protesters shout in the Khartoum neighbourhood of al-Sahafa 

The SPA had called for Tuesday night's protests earlier in the week when it released a schedule of protest activity aimed at galvanising a movement that had been relatively muted since the Khartoum sit-in, and similar sit-ins around Sudan, were suppressed on 3 June. 

The government's Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary, accused by protesters of leading the killings at the sit-in, spread throughout Khartoum following the dispersal, and activists claimed they were responsible for widespread abuses, beatings and the arrests of passers-by. 

The SPA said in a press conference on Monday that it had documented at least 12 cases of women being raped by Sudanese forces. 

'Resistance committees'

The RSF's leader Mohammed Hamdan Dagolo, known as Hemeti, is the deputy head of the ruling military council that ousted three-decade ruler Omar al-Bashir on 11 April after months of protests.

But the sit-in outside Sudan's military headquarters, that had increased pressure on Bashir in the days before his ousting, remained in place until 3 June, demanding the military council give way to civilian government. 

The opposition coalition, which includes the SPA, ended negotiations with the military for a transitional joint civilian and military authority after the sit-in's dispersal, but has accepted mediation efforts by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. 

The SPA's protest schedule, reminiscent of the way it organised neighbourhood-focused protests before the mass sit-in began on 6 April, called for community meetings to discuss the political situation on Wednesday, followed by more protests in the evening and for mass marches on Thursday. 

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