In Sudan’s Outcasts Friday
Police and Security Forces Continue Clampdown on Protesters
& Launch Mass Arrests
JULY 6, 2012
On Friday, July 6, 2012 multiple protests sparked in Khartoum and other Sudanese states as part of “The Outcasts’ Friday”, in reference to president Al-Bashir’s description of anti-austerity and anti-regime protesters as “outcasts”. Youth movements, opposition party activists and independent entities called for this protest thru social media outlets.
The protests, which launched last June 16th from the female dormitories of University of Khartoum, have extended to residential neighborhoods and the majority of Sudan’s states.
Al-Sayed Abdelrahman’s Mosque in Wad Nubawi marked the largest turnout of protesters. Last Friday, “Elbow Licking Friday” (an expression made by an NCP leader in reference to the impossibility of overthrowing the regime) protesters chanted peaceful slogans, but they were met with police brutality where they were beaten and their protest was dispersed. In ‘Outcasts Friday’, the crackdown intensified and transformed into an attack and a siege surrounding the mosque and the houses, where riot police and security forces fired teargas inside the mosques and houses. Rubber bullets were also shot into the crowds, and a large number of protesters, including elders and children were suffocated by the effects of the tear gas. A protester sustained an injury on his leg after live ammunition was fired at him by the police outside the mosque.
The large crowds in Wad Nubawi (around 3000-4000 persons) chanted in unison for the fall of the regime, and phrases included: “the people want to overthrow the regime”, “Revolt, Khartoum, we will not be ruled by Kafouri’s thief (Al-Bashir)”, “take off your uniform, police officer.. a pound of sugar now costs your month’s salary”. This was amid an unprecedented turnout of police and security forces as well as NCP thugs surrounding the mosque and neighboring areas.
Messages from activists who were inside the mosque depicted that they were under siege. Many people fell unconscious as a result of the type of teargas that the police fired inside the mosque. Police had also closed the main gates to the mosque and prevented any entrances or exists or aid to the injured. An activist send a message saying: “we are trapped inside Wad Nubawi mosque and are facing a real dilemma; either we suffocate or we get arrested.”
Additionally, the Committee of Doctors and Vice Specialists reported that the Sudanese security prevented the provision of any sort of medical aid and intercepted ambulances that were headed towards Wad Nubawi.
In the city of Khartoum North, heavy security forces surrounded the Friday prayers in Shambat and fired teargas and rubber bullets at the protesters in the expanse of Al-Sayed Ali Mirghani mosque. In the Friday sermon, mosque’s imam intensely criticized the government’s corruption. Police and security trucks were also spotted in Kober area, moving at incredible speeds to terrorize the citizens and prevent them from forming a gathering. Other protests also took place in the neighborhoods of Al-Kadaro, Al-Laffa station and the Al-Kalakla regions.
In Other States
In city of Al-Obayed in west Sudan, a massive protest launched from Al-Safa mosque and civilians blocked the street. Activists reported that seven people were arrested.
In Dungula, north Sudan, protesters chanted against the regime.
News sources in the city of Halfa Al-Jadida noted that the police failed in containing the protests there, and the protesters took control.
In Sinnar, the protesters who prayed in the old Sinnar mosque also chanted against the regime.
Blocking Roads and Restricting Freedom of Movement
The protests of ‘Outcasts Friday’ resulted in the blockage of the Omdurman market and all the roads leading to it. Security forces arrested and dispersed youth gatherings in the area surrounding the market. Security forces also blocked the road leading to the Presidential Palace. In Al-Daim in Khartoum, there was a large presence of police and security forces and riot police.
Security forces arrested members of the crew of Al-Arabiya channel immediately after Friday prayer and they were released at 3:40 pm.
They also kidnapped Al-Jazeera channel photographer Yasser Suleiman and took him to an unknown destination, in addition to detaining Al-Jazeera Net reporter Emad Abdelhadi for one hour. Abdelhadi was beaten and his phone was confiscated.
Security forces also intercepted a UN car, driven by a Sudanese driver accompanies by a foreign lady. The car was searched.
Since the outbreak of Sudanese protests in mid-June, the authorities have been clamping down on media, particularly foreign media in attempt to limit the spread of information and facts of what’s really going on in the Sudanese streets. Egyptian journalist Salma Al-Wardany was arrested and deported last week, and Al-Watan newspaper journalist Shaima Adel who was covering the protests was also arrested.
Internal media has been riddled with misinformation and marks a significant void of respectable journalists, where the Sudanese security apparatus has turned into the sole editor-in-chief. For those who don’t abide by the editor’s rules, the punishment is the confiscation of their newspaper.
Friday sermons have become about criticizing the government’s policies and its failure in managing the country. The imams of Wad Nubawi and Khartoum North mosques denounced corruption and the crackdown of protests. The imam of Al-Noor mosque said that: “Omar Al-Bashir and Nafie are going to hell en masse,” and cited evidence from Prophet Mohamed’s saying that “if the ruler finds peace in sleep while he lies to his people, heaven is hence forbidden for him”.
The Alternative Democratic Charter
19 Sudanese opposition parties signed the Alternative Democratic Charter. The signing of this charter comes after 20 days of the outburst of protests calling against hike in prices and recent austerity measures imposed by the government, that soon transformed into demands for the fall of the regime. Some of the notable parties that signed the charter are the Ummah party, the Sudanese Communist Party, the Popular Congress Party, the Democratic Unionist Party, the Sudanese Congress Party, HAQ party, the Arab Socialist Baath Party and Al-Nasseri Party. The parties that signed the charter called on a transitional period “government by a constitutional declaration that begins by forming the transitional government and ends by conducting free and fair elections”. The charter also called on the “non-exploitation of religion in political or party conflict to ensure stability and social peace.” The charter specified the means it will take to achieve its goals, namely “strike, peaceful demonstration, protest, civil disobedience, uprising and popular revolution.”
On the morning of ‘Outcasts Friday’, security forces arrested Ismail Ada, a member of the political office of the Ummah Party, and Ibrahim Al-Sheikh, the leader of the Sudanese Congress Party, before the start of Friday prayers after he declared his intention to lead the protests from Khartoum North.
Activists say that the number of those arrested has exceeded 1000, where many youth movement members, political party activist and civil society activists have been detained since the outbreak of the anti-regime protests on June 16th.