The Sudanese government continued cracking down on opposition media and protestors Thursday, as activists continued planning for more rounds of demonstrations. Late Wednesday, journalists from the communist party newspaper were arrested, following crackdowns on opposition media earlier in the week.
The government has not said why the journalists from Al-Maidan newspaper were arrested, according to VOA reporter Alsanosi Ahmed, who is in Khartoum. But he said two newspapers have been censored for their reporting on protests, and these arrests are likely connected.
Agence France Presse reported that the journalists were arrested after covering a meeting of opposition activists. Twelve journalists and 4 others were detained, said AFP.
“The case of Al-Maidan newspaper is really very strange because the security forces did not only arrest journalists. The janitor of the newspaper was also arrested,” said Ahmed. “People didn’t know that the security forces were really targeting journalists or activists or members of the communist party.”
The protests in northern Sudan have been small, but widespread. Hundreds of arrests and beatings have fragmented the movement, with around 50 activists still detained or missing. But activists say they are planning to continue demonstrating, with the next protest planned for February 7.
The protestors, largely students and youth, have used Facebook and SMS to communicate with each other. Security forces Thursday used the protestors’ own tactics against them, according to Ahmed.
“The security forces themselves, they sent messages to people to gather in a specific area to protest. When people went there to protest they saw the security forces arresting them immediately when they arrived in the area,“ said Ahmed.
According to Ahmed, future protests will probably be planned over different channels.
Ahmed also reported hearing reports of more student arrests Thursday. Police have said they arrested 40 students and 30 others after protests on Sunday, and one student died from his injuries after being beaten by the police.