In rural northern Sudan, farmers protest coup by blocking highways

Protesters in northern Sudan have set up barricades on a major highway to stop lorries from transporting goods to neighbouring Egypt.
Protesters in northern Sudan have set up barricades on a major highway to stop lorries from transporting goods to neighbouring Egypt. © Observers

Defying security crackdowns, Sudanese people have continued to rally in the country's cities in protest against the military coup carried out on October 25, 2021 by General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan. More recently, a new type of resistance has emerged in the rural Northern state: since early January, protesters have prevented lorries from transporting goods to neighbouring Egypt. 

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We spoke to Abdelhamid (not his real name), a Sudanese journalist, who explained that, while the protests began over a hike in electricity prices, they are now much more political.

When they stop the lorries, they don't search them. They don't even approach them. They just ask the drivers to park on the side of the road. People who have emergencies, ambulances and public transport vehicles - they let them all pass.

When you visit this region [Northern state], you realise that agriculture is the only source of revenue for the locals. And currently, with the steep rise in the price of electricity, they are losing their livelihoods.

The protest has evolved. Currently, most of the barricades are held by resistance committees, in support of the farmers impacted by the electricity price increases. The activists in the resistance commitees have even come from Khartoum and other states to join their fellow protesters in the barricades.

The protesters are also fighting against the army's monopoly over many aspects of daily life. Over 200 companies in Sudan are owned by the army, in industries as diverse as gold mining, meats and oil exports. 

There is an increasing awareness among the young people who are holding these barricades because they refuse to accept the plundering of the country's wealth and the army's takeover of the country.