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Sudanese security shuts down TEDx event in Khartoum

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May 11, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese security agents shut down a TEDx community forum organised in Khartoum on Saturday after unplugging their power supply midway through the event, which aimed to inspire the sharing of ideas through the internet and social media.

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Members of TEDx Khartoum pose for a collective picture (photo Tedx Khartoum website)

Hundreds of people had turned out for the event, which was hosted at Khartoum’s luxury Corinthia Hotel, under the theme: “Knowledge into action”.

Security officials reportedly complained about a video broadcast being streamed live from the event to Khartoum university students, before later instructing the hotel’s management to cut off the power supply in the middle of a speech.

New York-based non-profit organisation TED started as a four-day conference in California 26 years ago, with independently-run TEDx events now held annually around the world.

Sudan’s version of TEDxwas founded by Anwar Dafa-Alla, a translator and professor of computer sciences, and was previously held in Khartoum in 2011 and 2012 without incident.

A tearful Dafa-Alla was cheered on in support as he fronted the crowd on Saturday to announce that security officials had revoked their permit and the event could no longer continue.

The abrupt cancellation also prevented the screening of the ’Our Sudan’ documentary film project, which had been due to premier as part of the forum.

“What concerns us at this moment is to firstly apologise to our speakers and audience both locally and internationally. We did everything we could and dealt in utmost professionalism to try to solve the problem. Unfortunately, everything we did was not enough”, event organisers said in a statement posted on their Facebook page this morning.

This year’s TEDx Khartoum for the first time featured international keynote speakers, who had travelled to the forum from the United States, Britain, India and Uganda.

Previous TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Sir Richard Branson and Gordon Brown.

According to the TEDx website, all affiliated events are organised independently on a community basis to “stimulate dialogue” and are free of any commercial, religious or political agenda.

Supporters took to TEDx Khartoum’s Twitter and Facebook pages to praise organisers and vent their frustration at the event’s closure.

“What happened just proved that something right was being done. To them, something right must be stopped”, wrote one supporter on Facebook.

Another wrote: “Thank you everybody for the great work and keep going ... we [are] all with you”.

Sudan’s security services have recently cracked down hard on independent think-tanks, civil society groups and local newspapers which are perceived to be spreading anti-government sentiments and promoting democratic change.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 13 May 2013 01:35, by tootke’bai-ngo

    Unfortunately, NCP ruling party will not allows any change in Sudan despite all these liars of transformation. Sudanese people have to liberate themselves now or never. you didn’t wanted to do it before with S.Sudanese, Why not doing it now with Darfurians, Nubians & Blue Nileians? or else you guys are doomed!!!!!

    repondre message

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