News / Africa

    Khartoum Under Threat from Protests, Observers Say

    Sudanese anti-government protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013.
    Sudanese anti-government protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in Khartoum, Sudan, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013.
    Hannah McNeish
    Over the past week, Sudan has seen its most serious protests in almost three decades.  Demonstrations over rising prices after the government decided to lift fuel subsidies have mutated into riots, and dozens of people have died.  The streets have calmed, but analysts say that this could be a turning point for the ruling party and longtime President Omar al-Bashir.  

    The protests started a week ago in one town, but quickly spread to others and the capital, Khartoum, where protesters torched vehicles, gas stations, police buildings and hurled stones at security forces.

    The protests are seen as the greatest challenge to Bashir’s rule since he came to power in a 1989 military coup.

    Sudanese historian and author Douglas Johnson says Sudan hasn’t seen such protests since two governments were toppled in the 1960s and 1980s.

    Johnson says the fact that protests have spread beyond Khartoum is important.

    “I don’t know if they’re being coordinated, but that is an indication of a rising sea of discontent.  What you’ve got to have in Sudan for this to be successful is one, you have to have a public that has nothing left to fear - and I think we’re beginning to see that - and two, you’ve got to see a loss of morale in security services.  I don’t know if you’ve seen that yet, but those two combined are what brought down the two previous military governments in ’64 and '85," said Johnson.

    In an exclusive interview with VOA, rebel commander Malik Agar, whose forces in the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan have allied with rebels in the Darfur region, said the hike in fuel prices was the last straw for a beleaguered people.

    “My perception is that these demos are not going to stop.  They are going to go ahead, and I think the people of the Sudan are fed up with the misadministration of the system, they are economically tied and they are even at the stage of economic suffocation.  Whether they go for demo or whether they don’t, they are going to suffer more and more," said Agar.

    A Sudanese woman in Khartoum, who requested confidentiality for fear of reprisals, told VOA that the government had closed schools for a month to punish youths, who make up the bulk of protesters.

    Witnesses in Khartoum say security forces have also rounded up and detained an estimated 1,000 people, while press advocate Reporters Without Borders has documented a crackdown on media, says the group's Africa spokesperson, Clea Kahn-Sriber.

    “The very noticeable thing is that there’s been a very strong push to censor all types media.  So, newspapers have been closed, TV stations have been closed, journalists have been arrested and interrogated, and in all that we can kind of see the fragility of the

    Islam Al-Tayeb, a Sudanese analyst for the international Institute for Strategic Studies in Bahrain, says the lack of credible opposition parties offering a political alternative to Bashir could dampen the revolutionary spirit.

    She also says that after being ruled by one man for 25 years, many Sudanese people are wary of joining protests, and believe that they won’t receive outside help for a “Sudan spring” by regional or international players that have either abandoned or alienated Khartoum.

    But the death toll has shocked many into action.  

    “The risk is high, and the mobilization is serious.  And the problem this time also is the crackdown has led to the deaths of many Sudanese and right now many of the demands that people were calling for have changed, from economic to political demands, and calling for the removal of the regime, which many consider [to] have their hands covered in blood," said Al-Tayeb.

    Al-Tayeb says that the government would sacrifice President Bashir to maintain control of the country, but only if risks and demands grow significantly, and if more boots take to the streets.

    You May Like

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Shosho from: Italy
    October 04, 2013 1:39 PM
    The regime must go away

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.