Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sudan Protests XI

Sitting behind a screen, all safe and well, has made me (and I guess many others out there) feel extremely powerless. I want to do so much. I want to be out there in the streets with all brave Sudanese, bake some cookies for them, make them happy and encourage them to continue their struggle. I want to tell everyone that they can do this; they can make Bashir leave and put him to justice as he should have been a loooong time ago. They can withstand the police and the NISS, all without violence. They can do it, simply based on their love for their country and for each other. They can do it with that wonderful humour and friendliness that is so characteristic for the Sudanese people.

I've felt powerless, but today I actually feel that I've done something. Me and my husband (who is Sudanese) was interviewed by Swedish Radio P3 News about Sudan, our experiences and thoughts about what's going on at this moment. And when I get back home, I see that #SudanRevolts has hit the frontpage of one of Sweden's biggest newspapers. Finally the Sudanese people gets some attention from this part of the world!

Here's the web-article from the radio interview.

I hope, with all my heart, that this will be the end of a horrible era filled with violence, war, genocide, torture, discriminations and corruption. And I hope it will be the beginning of a new one, based on democracy, human rights and freedom. I hope every Sudanese soon will feel safe in their own country and among each other. I hope I can go back with my family and show my son how awesome his second home country can be.

Update: It's only 8 PM here but I can hardly keep my eyes open. Been a long day and the little man has kept me busy with babbling, hand clapping and pooping. So, I'm going to leave the writing for today and do my best to disconnect my brain from revolutionary thinking. Some links to provide you with updated info about #SudanRevolts:

- Reuters, Police quell student protest in East Sudan: witnesses
- AhramOnline, Sudan activists call for Tahrir-style million-man protest
- Aljazeera, Sudan using protests "to silence dissenters"
- Alarabiya, U.S. condemns crackdown on Sudan anti-government protests
- SudanRevolts, A Statement from the Broad National Front to the Youth of Sudan
- Foreign Policy, The Sudanese Standup
- Sudanese Online, Statement on the latest developments of the protests in Sudan for public dessimenation
- Sudanese Online, Omer al-Bashir: Take a Look over Your Shoulder
- Sudanreeves, Sudan: Desperate for Regime Change Over Many Years

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sudan Protests X

My apologies for missing a day of blogging.

Today, the Egyptian journalist Salma El-Wardany was deported from Sudan. On June 21 she was detained for covering the protests at University of Khartoum and was kept for seven hours. Her work permit was withdrawn. Today she was informed that she was allowed to stay in Sudan if she would refran from reporting anything about the ongoing protests in the country. She refused (that's called bravery!) and was therefor deported and put on a plane to Cairo.

Many photos that have circulated on Twitter and elsewhere have been proven to not display scenes from the ongoing protests, but from previous demonstrations. I have used some of these "not accurate" photos myself in this blog and should have researched it better before publishing it. However, I think it's important to remember that the photos does show Sudan, the people, authorities and what it's like to live there, so it hasn't been all meaningless to show them. In fact, I think it proves a very good point. No matter if the photo is from 2003, 2009 or yesterday, it basically shows the dissatisfaction of the people and the authorities unacceptable way of handling it. The "not SudanRevolts" photos can be found here.

NISS, the National Intelligence and Security Service, are notorious and there are almost as many horrible stories and rumors about them as there are victims. In the following days, I'll be working on a story about a man telling his experience when he was detained, harrassed and tortured. I'll publish it as soon as it's done. Another post will be the testimony of a human right's activist that's currently in hiding from NISS.

Meanwhile, Ali Mahmud al-Rasul Sudan's finance minister says the government is holding on to it's austerity measures "no matter what." The oil price has pretty much doubled since last week.

President Bashir has fired all of his nine political advicers and dismiss the protests as the work of "a few agitators."

Protesters are gathering their strenghts for what they hope will be a nation wide mass protest on June 29th, this Friday. Hopefully international media has opened it's eyes before then and can follow the fall of Bashir.

There's now a blog for #SudanRevolts. Don't miss it.

Update: I just read reports that @MimzicalMimz is being raided by NISS. Mimz is one of the leading Sudanese activists on Twitter and on ground. She was detained a few days ago and released. Here's her blog.

Update: @MimzicalMimz is now being taken from her home by NISS (11.30 PM, GMT +2. Some 9 hours ago she tweeted "In case anything happens to me since I was ordered by NISS to cut ties w/ @S_Elwardany I'm headed 2 aurport now in an attempt to say goodbye."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sudan Protests VIII

University of Khartoum today

This post will be updated during the evening.

Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N) has stated that they would be ready for a ceasefire when president Bashir falls. The SPLM-N leader Malik Agar says that his rebels are following the developments closely and that they're consulting with allied rebel groups, political parties and civil society organizations. SPLM-N has a "willingness to proclaim a strategic ceasefire on all the military fronts after the fall of the regime to create a conducive environment for peaceful transition of power," Agar said.

Bus drivers in Khartoum and South Darfur as well as the cattle market in Darfur have entered strikes to join the protests. In El-Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan state, Sudanese lawyers joined the protests near the courthouse. Witnesses said that some were arrested. The hacktivist group Anonymous reportedly shut down Sudan government's website. It's still offline. Likewise, Sudan Airways, has been hacked by AL-MaX-HaCkEr.

In Omdurman, women were chanting and "zaghareet" (you know, when they happily go yioyioyioyioyio!) in front of Azhari's residence. The police were reportedly dumfounded by this sight. I'd love to see it. Here's a wonderful picture from the 1964 revolution to give you a clue:

Blogger Nagla Sid Ahmed refrained from going to NISS after being summoned for the  3rd day and human rights activist Bushra Gamar entered a hunger strike on June 19th to protest against his arrest without charge. Karima Fath-Alrahman and Sara Moheyldeen has been released from detention (the latter after pressure from British embassy).

Umbadda, Omdurman

Are you in Khartoum? The hospitals are filled with injured protestors and are in desperate need of blood. Please go donate!

Security forces using live ammunition in Kharotum now. One person injured in the video below:

Read more here:

From Sweden to Sudan With Love

It is our wish that our son will have two home countries where he can be safe. We wish for him to live a life without dictatorship and corruption, endless wars and threats. We wish he will be proud of his people, that stood up against injustice and fought against evil, not with violence but with love and compassion.

This revolution is for him, and for every other child and coming generations on earth.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sudan Protests VII

It now seems to be more or less confirmed that the government will shut down communication in Sudan (internet and possibly cell phones). In case this happens, here's what you can try (info from Bassem's Weblog):

1) Connect the phone to laptop via bluetooth, then right click and choose "Use a modem" if you don't have one.
2) Go to Network and choose "Create new dial up connection"
3) When asked to enter a phone number, user name and password, use one of the following. They can't cut them off:




Here are also some dial-up numbers you can use:

Update: Najla Sidahmed was released by NISS and taken to hospital. She suffered from hypoglycemia since she'd been interrogated for 8,5 hours without food. To Al-Arabiya, Sidahmed said "NISS arrest me every morning and let me go in the evening to prevent me from documenting."

In Al Daim, the situation is getting tense again. Armed NISS agents dressed as civilians are patrolling the streets carrying guns and rods. Those NISS agents who don't hide behind costumes have also kidnapped the son of Kamal Omar, the political secretary of the Popular Congress Party (PCP) as hostage in return for his father. I'm trying to refrain from personal opinions when writing about serious things like this, but this time I must say that NISS has sunken way below the surface of what's ok. Furthermore, NISS cars are parked outside of hospital, reportedly to pick up people who were injured during the protests.

Meanwhile, freedom fighters and their opponents are getting ready for another night of protests. In the picture below, police are loading their cars with teargas:

List of people detained since yesterday (there are many more and I'll keep updating the list as I get more names):

Usamah Ali
Omer Mahgoub - released
Muntasir Alfadil Abdullah
Ahmad Hussein
Seed Ahmad Zaki
Waleed Wadidi
Mohamed Altoum
Erwa Sadig
Alsadig Jameel
Abdelrahman Ibrahim Mohamed
Elgoni Idris
Adam Jireijeer
Hasan Talam
Fayez Abdullah
Kifa7 Osman
Haj Ahmed
Fahd Mohamed
Sari Awad
Karima Abdeen
Sarah Deif-allah

Read more here:
- Reuters Africa, Sudanese protest over cuts amid security crackdown
- Ahram Online, Sudan students at forefront of rising social unrest
- Aljazeera, Sudan activists mark one week of protests 

Peace be with you my Sudanese friends and family! More tomorrow.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sudan Protests VI - Sandstorm Friday

This post will be continuously updated during the day.

The sixth day of protests got the name Sandstorm Friday (#SandstormFriday) and people are being urged by activists to hit the streets after prayers. There are reports of heavy security presence around mosques in Khartoum, Omdurman and Khartoum North and only time and a good amount of nervous teeth grinding from where I sit, will tell how this day will end. This picture is from outside Wad Noubawi's Mosque in Omdurman after prayers:

Police told the protesters at Wad Noubawi's Mosque that they would refrain from beating, then used batons and fired tear gas. Police are reportedly surrounding the area and NISS are combing the streets to pick people up. "It's an ambush" a tweet says. Meanwhile, the protests are spreading, mainly in Omdurman (at 2 PM) it seems.

Youth movement "Sudan Change Now" urges international media to cover the protests and shares this:

Around lunch there were unconfirmed reports of police firing live ammunition at protesters in Sennar, a town in South-East Sudan.

Update: One person was hit in the leg with a bullet and was taken by a civilian to a hospital in Omdurman. Protests also broke out in Wad Madani in the afternoon.

During the afternoon the protests have continued without pause, just like the mass arrests, police brutality and injuries. In al-Amlak (Bahri/Khartoum North) the situation has been intense and there have been unconfirmed talks about deaths. In Wad Nubawi (Omdurman) the police dispersed the protesters, who later came back with renewed force: heavy clashes, arrests and injuries. In Khartoum 3 the situation has been dramatic where no one is supposedly able to get either in or out and with burned car tires all over the place. In al-Daim a police station was burned down.

This video is from Mohamed Naguib this evening.

There are reports of live ammunition and mass arrests as well as police using tear gas that causes instant unconsciousness. I will try to get this confirmed.

Among the Friday arrests are: @M_Izzelden (a girifna member and Sudanese tweep) together with Amira and Amani Osman. Photographer Mohammed Altoum and NUP activist Erwa Sadiq. In addition @simsimt @Arch_Asaad and @ZiyadMoutasim seem to be missing as they last tweeted some 6 hours ago (it's now 11 PM, GMT +2 here in Sweden).

Last update for today: 
@Arch_Asaad, @ZiyadMoutasim and @M_Izzelden was released in late evening. @simsimt is still missing. @Arch_Asaad said: "I was held at Buri Daraysa police station, all Buri detainees r supposed 2b there but Usamah (simsimt) was never brought #SudanRevolts."

@simsimt is seen as an important part of #SudanRevolts and Twitter is running warm with concern for his safety. @OmarMahgoub is also missing.

More here:
- Aljazeera,  Student-led #SudanRevolts enter sixth day
- Sudan Tribune, URGENT CALL to Media and Activists
- AFP, Sudan food protests widen
- The Guardian, Sudan's ageing regime has few answers to the latest wave of protests
- Voice of America, Student-Led Protests Spread Across Khartoum
- Chicago Tribune, Sudan austerity protests spreaed after Friday prayers
- Reuters Africa, Hundreds of Sudanese join austerity protests after prayers

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sudan Protests V

This post will be continuously updated during the day.

Egyptian journalist Salma Elwardany (@S_Elwardany on Twitter) and blogger/activist Maha El-Senosy (@MimzicalMimz on Twitter and blogs here) was arrested by NISS while covering the protests on the 5th day and taken to an unknown location. Mimz' last tweet today said "just got stopped by NISS in front of jamaa" and Elwardany: "BREAKING: Khartoum state government dissolved, as anti-austerity unrest enters fifth day :Governor."

Update: @MimzicalMimz and @S_Elwardany was released during the afternoon, Wardany was held a bit longer and autorities have yet to determine if she will be deported or not. She lost her work permit in Sudan.

There are reports of hundreds of protesters that have been detained, mistreated and released these last few days. Protesters got their hairs shaved off, they got stripped of their clothes, flogged and left in the sun (which is not warm and nice but hot and extremely scorching) for hours.

Protests are held outside the Sudanese embassy in Cairo and people are chanting "Teer teer ya Bashir" (fly/go Bashir) and "Yasqot 7okm el3askar" (down with military reign). In Dongola, a town in North Sudan, people have joined the demonstrations. Picture below.

There's a call for Friday protests called "Friday haboob" (haboob means sand storm) against Keizan, which is the name for the fundamentalist government that rules the country. The protests are to be held "in mosques and the streets, bridge and neighborhoods" on Friday, June 22nd, after prayers:

Are you in Khartoum? I'm in need of comments/interviews and photos! You can of course be anonymous if you wish.

More here:
- Blog posts and links on CrowdVoice

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sudan Protests IV

Wednesday morning and the fourth day of protests in Khartoum started with a sand storm and the NISS arrests of activists Najla Sid Ahmed and Mohd Hassan Alim (Boshi) at 7 AM. Their whereabouts unknown. Najla's house was raided and Boshi's mother was injured, Girifna reports. AFP correspondent Simon Martelli, however, was released after having spent a day in custody for covering the demonstrations.

Protests have been reported at University of Khartoum's medical campus at Al Qasr Avenue, Blue Nile University in Sinnar, Jumhoreya street (video below) and Burri.

Update: Apart from other universities in Khartoum, others outside of the capital have joined the protests; Shendi, Obeid and Gezira are among these. In all protests, NCP students (National Congress Party) have joined the security forces with metal rods, machetes, knives and swords, Girifna says. More and more civilians are reported to join the students in the protests.

During early evening, security forces arrested Dr. Kamil Idris, a former presidential candidate and a human rights activist.

Update: Protesters are gathering at an Umma party in Omdurman, where anti-government chants and the word "thawra" (revolution) can be heard. Najla Sid Ahmed is reported to have been released and have joined the party where she bravely continues to document events.

Last update for today: Reports of the resignation of government of state of Khartoum. Professor Mamoun Himida put forth the resignation letter saying that they can't continue due to the government's austerity measures. More about this tomorrow.
More on the story here:
- Bloomberg (Salma El Wardany, @s_elwardany), Sudanese Police Fire Tear Gas On Fourth Day Of Protests
- US Department of State, Crackdown on Demonstrators in Sudan
- Girifna Media, Sudan Revolts: a situation analysis

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sudan Protests III

Tuesday morning, protests started at Ahlia University in Omdurman, where protesters clashed with police and National Congress Party (NCP) students, who fired tear gas and assaulted unarmed protesters with weapons. The campus was evacuated. Update: At the Faculty of Agriculture in Shambat (Khartoum North) and Faculty of Education (Omdurman), two branches of University of Khartoum, protests broke out and faced similar treatment as students in Ahlia University. Some 24 students were reported arrested from Shambat and taken to a police station where they were released on bail later on. For the third time in two days, police raided and surrounded the female dorms in University of Khartoum. Tear gas was fired against the students.

Protests also broke out in Al-Kalakla Al-Gubba in Khartoum and Al-Kadaro Complex of Juba University in Khartoum North, as well as Atbara market, Shendi and Atbara. Update: During early evening, protests started in Omdurman Market. Police used tear gas and tried to disperse the protesters. Some were arrested.

Activists have reported unprecedented violence by the police. No deaths have been reported so far.

Media has been largely censured  and the dailies Al-Ahdath, Al-Watan and Al-Jarida were ordered by the NISS not to distribute their Sunday prints on Sunday without given a reason. Same thing happened yesterday. The weekly Al-Midan (a weekly by the opposition Sudanese Communist Party) has been ordered not to publish for a month. "They want to kick us out of the market. It is a bad thing for the freedom of expression in Sudan," Al-Jarida's editor-in-chief, Osman Shinger, told AFP.

But Sudanese students have not been beaten down by the censorship and took their protests against austerity, high costs of living and the end of the president Omar al-Bashir's reign online. News has been spread mainly on Twitter.

AFP bureau chief in Sudan, Simon Martelli was arrested this morning while covering the protests at Sudan University. This is what he wrote yesterday. Martelli, who is British, was brought to an unknown location. The embassy wasn't notified.

@girifna calls on all citizens of Sudan to take to the streets on June 30th (the day that president Bashir took power 23 years ago) and celebrate the final anniversary of NCP's reign.

Update: The activists that were arrested at HAQ yesterday were released at 3 AM this morning.

The video shows today's protests at the South section of Sudan University. The riot police are waiting for the students to come out.

Follow #SudanRevolt on Twitter for updated information.

Read more about the situation:
- Al-Arabiya, Protesters, Sudan police clash over spending cuts
- Reuters, Protests erupt as Sudan's Bashir unveils austerity plan (updated version)
- Reuters, Sudan to tax more, cut subsidies to plug deficit
- Al-Jazeera [VIDEO], News - 3d day of protests in Khartoum, al-Arabi (in Arabic)
- Al-Jazeera, Students lead #SudanRevolts against austerity

- AhramOnline, Sudan protesters scuffle with police for third day: Witness

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sudan Protests II

Students at the University of Khartoum entered the second day of demonstrations, chanting "people want the regime down" and social media has run warm while waiting to see if this is "the real deal" or not. This is not the first time (and probably not the last) that students demonstrate against the government. Last December authorities closed down Khartoum University temporarily after more than a week of protests against the government.

The inflation in the country is currently running at 30 percent, but some economists claim it can be as high as 40, and the Sudanese people have been building up their anger against rising food prices and the government's plans to cut fuel subsidies.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir addressed parliament around lunch, Monday, saying that the government had decided to "raise taxation and remove fuel subsidies "step by step." Furthermore, hundreds of federal and state positions will be axed and officials's salaries will be cut. Needless to say, people weren't too happy about the announcement. More on the announcement here.

Riot police has continued to fire tear gas and use batons against the protesters. There has been reports of both rubber bullets and live ammunition being fired, but the reports are yet unconfirmed. Students answered the brutality by throwing stones at the police and an unconfirmed number of protesters have been detained and taken away in trucks to police stations. Some claim they've been brought to torture chambers. As always with social media, it's difficult to know what's fact and what is rumors.

The security presence has been heavy all over the city centre and while the students at Khartoum University have had a hard time during the day (police has raided the female dorms at the campus) tweets now claim that Omdurman Ahliya University (link currently down) has joined the protests during the afternoon and that protesters are cutting off a road (video) near the Ministry of Defence.

Update: In early evening 30-40 youths have reportedly been beaten and arrested as they attended a meeting at the headquarters of New Democratic Forces Movement (HAQ) in Khartoum 2. The young activists, may of them Girifna members, were taken into trucks owned by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and there whereabouts are unknown at the moment. Tweeps are calling for lawyers to help out.




Photo from Twitter.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sudan Protests I


I'm currently preparing myself for another round of intense blogging. Here's why:

Small demonstrations have been going on in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, for well over a year now, but now it seems to get serious as a couple of hundered students at the University of Khartoum started a demonstration on campus against high food prices. The university's website seems to be down at the moment, not sure if that has anything to do with this though.

Riot police met the protesters with tear gas and batons and the demonstration spread to city central.

Tweets and Facebook statuses claim that the situation is escalating and that a number of seriously hurt people have been brought to hospital. People are encuraging each other to hit the streets and spread information.

Are you in Khartoum at the moment? Me and the rest of the world wants to hear your stories!

More to come.