Tuesday, July 10, 2012

#SudanRevolts- Post 1 (Written on 27/June)

It didn’t take us long to reach Al-Daim, a suburb in Khartoum where reportedly mass protests were taking place. For security reasons, we took Mohamed Naguib street instead of Al-Sahafa and had plans to park the car and walk or take any other method of transportation.

We were stopped in the middle of Mohamed Naguib street, not by police but by burning tires. Protestor were creating zones, they would burn tires and protest between them.

A eyewitness who was at Al-Daim protest said that the police found a way to get in and surround the protestors and attack them with tear-gas.

The protests took place on main streets and typical of Sudanese neighborhoods, the main streets have a lot of side-streets full of houses. The side-streets are narrow and this is why the tear-gas had a stronger impact there.

A friend commented that a different type of tear-gas was used this time, not the one we experienced during the March protests after Awadia Ajabna, a teacher was shot down by the police.
“This tear gas has an effect the minute it is unleashed,” commented a protestor.

There were reportedly many unconscious protestors in Al-Daim because of the tear-gas.
There were many protests in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, and other states in Sudan since last week and Friday protests were part of what was called “SandStorm Friday”.

There was a sandstorm on Friday and heavy rain in some areas, but the protests still happened. The plan was for people to take to the streets after the Friday prayers and in some areas such as Wad-Nobawi, an old district in Omdurman, this happened.

A protest, partially organized by the Umma party, an opposition party, began in Wad-Nobawi right after prayers ends where youth, elders and even children took part.
The area was tear-gassed and one protestor was reportedly taken to the hospital, reported a Sudanese tweep. In one room, I sat with my friend , both of us were on the phone or updating twitter or sending emails. We were overwhelmed and wanted a break , but could not take a break for at least a few hours.
We were both tired, I was jet-lagged and she was drained from covering the protests for days, but we kept having our friends arrested. On the way to one protest, we saw a police car driving away with four detained. We drove fast, following the car, trying to take pictures of the arrested guys and when they drove away really fast, I told them that we are not forgetting them.

Right now, the list of arrested individuals has exceeded the hundreds and the protests are still ongoing. The last protests happened on Street 60. We drove there an hour ago, trying to dodge the big rocks lying on the street. To our right, we saw a number of police cars parked near the Riyadh police station, to our left , we saw many plain-clothed security agents.

It is almost ridiculous how we can tell security agents even if they are dressed in civilian clothes. Most of them are dressed in safari suits and they all have a common feature so they know each other, sometimes its a “bic” pen in their chest-pocket.

A spreadsheet with the list of detainees was initiated by an activist and the list keeps getting longer. Some protestors such as Assad Ali who is also a tweep was released after his detention inspired much fury on twitter.

Others are still held, their whereabouts are unknown. Some names are familiar, others are unknown to me, some are even as young as 17 years old. I’m utterly speechless at their courage. The older generation is always choosing stability and telling us not to take to the streets so Sudan doesn’t break down into a million parts, we as youth feel obligated to protest because we want the Sudan that our parents and grandparents told us about, the Sudan we have never seen.

The protests were actually supposed to begin on June 30, the 23rd anniversary of the Sudanese regime. Just this month, I turned 23. I graduated college, worked in two newspapers and did a number of working gigs and the same government is still in power. I’m now tweeting and writing this story from a safe place. It is a busy night and I’m overdosing on tea, I am trying to find information about the detainees.

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