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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid