A group using internet social media sites to mobilize youth across northern Sudan said they are planning demonstrations beginning Saturday against what they call ‘’bad governance and economic hardship.”
The group, which calls itself Al Intifada, is using Facebook and Twitter to get the word out to youth across the country for demonstrations in Khartoum, Medani, and Al Fashir.
A leading member of the group, Al Fadil Iddris Ali, told VOA that Al Intifada has 28,000 members across northern Sudan. The group organized demonstrations in northern Sudan earlier this month and he accused police of cracking down on its members. ‘’The government arrested a lot youth in Khartoum, Medani, and Al Fashir. They are trying their best to silence us.” He said the group is preparing for the next round of demonstrations “in order to gain our freedom.”
Ali said seven group members were arrested in Khartoum last week.
He fears that the government in Khartoum will shut down internet services just as governments in Egypt and Tunisia did in an attempt to quell demonstrations over the past few weeks. “We are afraid that the government may chose or pick up the Egyptian treatment and close up the Facebook, Twitter, and internet. That is what makes us afraid.”
Earlier this month Sudanese authorities downplayed the magnitude of anti-government protests, saying that most of those involved the in online campaign are based outside the country. ‘’That is not true,” Al Fadil said, “because they are arresting many of us. Even they are arresting girls and they are arresting young women, beating them. Government forces are using aggressive force against us.’’ And he said the government has tightened security in and around Khartoum by deploying a large number of police to prevent the young people from taking their protest to the streets.
The official Sudan News Agency quoted Mandur Al-Mahdi, a senior official in the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), as saying that government agents are monitoring Facebook and other internet based social sites created to mobilize support for the protests in northern Sudan.