For the past few weeks, Sudan has been wracked by a wave of anti-government protests. What began as a student protest in the capital of Khartoum against spending cuts, has since transformed into a nationwide movement – one that President Omar al-Bashir is keen to stamp out. Our Observers, who were both detained during demonstrations, describe their treatment at the hands of Sudanese security forces.
Arrests and intimidation have played a key role in the government’s crackdown on demonstrations. Police first clashed with students after the protests began in mid-June at Khartoum University
. Since then, security forces have regularly used clubs, tear gas and rubber bullets to break up crowds of demonstrators.
Many journalists, bloggers and opposition politicians have been detained over the past few weeks and interrogated by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). Some have been sentenced to beatings while others have been sent to unofficial prisons known as “ghost houses”.
This video was filmed on June 22 in the Al Elafoon neighbourhood in Khartoum. It shows protesters who have been convicted of taking part in demonstration being flogged by police. People in the crowd voice their support for the protesters.
The anti-government demonstrations have since spread from the street to the Internet. Activists have been describing their experiences and coming out against the crackdown on various
Sudan hasn’t seen protests of this magnitude in decades. The demonstrations began on June 16 after students in Khartoum complained about rising food and transport costs. They quickly spread to the general population, after Bashir announced a raft of austerity measures
on June 18 aimed at addressing the country’s nose-diving economy, including reducing fuel subsidies, slashing public jobs and tax hikes.
The movement quickly became political, with protesters calling for Bashir to step down. However, after 23 years in power, the president is unlikely to go willingly.
Bashir is already wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide
over his role in the Darfur conflict, which left thousands dead.