Sudanese demand ‘justice’ two years after protests erupted

KHARTOUM: Thousands of demonstrators marched through Sudanese towns on Saturday calling for change, two years since the start of a protest movement that led to the toppling of dictator Omar al Bashir.
Black plumes of smoke billowed into the sky from burning tyres in the capital Khartoum’s southern Al Sahafa district, with protesters marching to the gates of the presidential palace chanting “justice.”
Demonstrators — many of them young and frustrated by what they see as a lack of change amid a dire economic crisis —waved the national flag as they marched, or carried photographs of “martyrs” killed during past protests.
“Today we have sent a very clear message to the civilian and military government,” said 21-year-old protester Nada Nasereldine.
“We have the power of the streets, it is our weapon and we will use it if our demands are not met.”
Protests were also reported in towns surrounding the capital, including Madani and Atbara, as well as in the east, in Port Sudan on the Red Sea, and Kassala.
Numbers taking part totalled several thousand people,
according to estimates by AFP correspondents and other journalists.
Some shouted slogans of the revolution, including “the people want the fall of the regime” — also a rallying cry during Arab Spring demonstrations in the region a decade ago.
Sudan’s youth-led movement started protesting on December 19, 2018, seeking greater freedoms and an end to Sudan’s international isolation.
Bashir was finally ousted by the army in April the following year, and the new authorities have since put him on trial over the hardline-backed coup that first brought him to power in 1989.
But those responsible for the repression during the revolution have still not been brought to justice.
Experts warn the country is now at a critical juncture, as tensions have flared between the military and civilian leaders who share power in a fragile transitional government.
Earlier this month, the US removed Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, a designation dating from the times when Bashir hosted Osama bin Laden and other militants.
The delisting should help bring badly needed foreign aid, debt relief and investment to one of the world’s poorest countries. — AFP