By Antonella Napoli
Edited by Elena Ghizzo, Greg Meriott
October 3, 2013 - Across the whole country, the citizens have descended to the town squares to demonstrate against the cut to fuel subsidies. As in the past, the police of al Bashir have replied with shooting, torturing and killing –and have been targeting the young. A new wave of protests in Sudan for apposition caused 140 deaths in only 4 days.
Refugees across the world are organizing themselves to demonstrate in support of the Sudanese at home. An example of this will be in Italy on October 3rd, during the first economic forum of Sudan-Italy. The refugees, who are mostly Darfuri, will demonstrate in front of the Confindustria (Italian industries confederation), to protest against the austerity measures imposed by the Khartoum government and against the dictatorship of Al Bashir.
The situation collapsed between the 24th and 25th December after the announcement of the suspension of the subsidies for fuel to the population with the price of fuel doubling. Thousands of people descended to the squares and to the streets of Sudan, from Khartoum to Omdurman, from Port Sudan to Wad Madani, to South Darfur, Nyala and many other urban centers, where government buildings, police stations and many fuel stations have been attacked. In only two days, after what Amnesty International and a few news sources reported, more than 50 people have been killed by gunfire. In the opinion of the opposition and of the local activists, the total of victims would be more than double. The African Centre for justice and peace studies states that in the only twin city of Khartoum, Omdurman, 36 corpses have been recorded at the mortuary.
Mostly young men and women between 19 and 26 years old were killed by the police. Even though the government has been blocked Internet for days and it has intimated the newspapers to publish only ‘authorized’ news from official sources, the echo of what is happening in the country is amplifying more and more. The civil society of Sudan has no intention of being subjected to the higher prices due to the devaluation of the Sudanese pound and to the crisis, aggravated by the separation from the South, which has resulted in the loss of the huge incomes of oil in Khartoum. The Sudanese government has replied with violence to the peaceful demonstrations, organized through word-of-mouth, against poverty and basic rights.
In the fights between students of Darfur and security forces of January-February 2012, there had been reported used of live ammunition and teargas. In 2013 the modus operandi appears to be the same: an excessive reaction.
In spite of the tough hand of the government against the demonstrators, the University groups and the representatives of the political parties opposing the National Congress Party (the formation of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir) that form the revolt do not intend to give up.
After the demonstrations of the past few days, the dissident Sudanese, tired of the regime, are planning a new anti-government protest in the centre of the capital. The alarm of the organizations for human rights grows: the use of arbitrary and illegal force could be even more intense.
The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) habitually use force against political opponents and activists, which are subjected to various forms of abuse.
The use of mass detention and torture as a deterrent to the protesters is systematic: scores of young people are arrested with no possibility of communicating with their relatives or lawyers. The news run through the web, despite the Internet cut. Through Twitter and other social networks, beyond through the blogs of Sudanese people, the voice of many arrested students and journalists is heard, with the information of the revolt spreading. #SudanRevolts is now the most used hashtag.
Italians for Darfur will support always peaceful action for democracy and justice.
Antonella Napoli is the President of Italians for Darfur