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On Sunday 6th January, thousands of people attended an anti-government protest in Khartoum, following three weeks of demonstrations against President Al-Bashir’s 29-year autocratic rule. As protests continue to erupt across Sudan, marked by demands for peace, equal citizenship and affordable food prices, tear gas and live bullets are being used against unarmed civilians and activists.
The demonstrations are being met with violence, police brutality and arbitrary arrests, but hopes for reform have been inspired, with many predicting that the demonstrations could pose the greatest challenge to Bashir’s regime in almost 3 decades. Yasir Arman, Deputy Chairperson of the SPLM-N, has called for the president to step down and for an interim diplomatic arrangement to be put in place.
On the 7th January, Arman released a statement that claims the continuation of peaceful protests could mark the end of violence under Bashir’s regime. The key points put forward by the statement, which describe the demonstrations as a ‘tsunami against all odds’, can be read below:
- On Sunday, 6th of January, Sudan has witnessed one of the biggest demonstrations during Bashir’s regime, especially in the capital of Khartoum, Madani and Atbura.
- In terms of strength, size and duration, these demonstrations are unprecedented in the last 63 years since the independence of Sudan in 1956 and longer in duration than the revolutions of 1964 and 1985 against the totalitarian regimes.
- The regime is denying access to accurate information of the peaceful demonstrators who were killed by live bullets from the regime forces and those who were wounded and detained.
- Reliable sources within the medical community from different Sudanese hospitals and clinics gave an estimation that at least more than 70 were killed, especially in Gadarif city, where more than 20 were killed.
- Hundreds are being injured. More than 2,000 activists and political leaders were arrested.
- This revolution in Sudan, which is a huge ongoing process, is a tsunami against all odds and it has brought into the political scene a new generation of women and men who have shown impressive courage against the fascism of political Islam. It constitutes the foundation of a new civil rights movement.
- Sudan is entering a totally new phase with a new environment; therefore, it requires a new policy from Africa and the international community. Business as usual, partial solutions and repackaging of the old system will never work.
- The only way forward is for Bashir to step down and to open the way for a new democratic interim arrangement that can bring accountability and justice, the end of corruption, national consensus, end the wars, gear the resources of the country (clean water, health, etc.) towards the needs of ordinary citizens. What is happening in Sudan right now is a great opportunity for the renewal of the country.
To read the statement in full, click here.