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Sudan: the silent storm

By: 
Ahmed Elbassiouny

October 15, 2013

This fall marks another phase of anti-austerity revolts in Sudan. People have been marching all over the country, despite police responding with live ammunition and tear gas.
 
There has been inter-imperial rivalry between the US and China for Sudan's oil reserves, which contributed to the country dividing in 2011--with South Sudan possessing 70 per cent of the oil reserves. The global economic crisis has exacerbated the situation, but the only response from the Al-Bashir government has been to worsen the situation with brutal austerity measures--backed up by police violence.
 
Last month the government doubled gas and food prices. People took to the streets to express their anger at the government’s austerity measures. The government responded with extreme force and an “iron fist”, as authorities announced--attacking protesters with live ammunitions and tear gas. As a result of the regime’s “iron fist”, 200 people have been killed in Khartoum alone, and another 700 people have been arrested. Among those who were killed was Salah Sanhouri, the spark of the political turmoil in Sudan.
 
Sudan's Bouazizi 
Like Mohamed Bouazizi of Tunisia and Khaled Said of Egypt, Sanhouri exposed the brutality and corruption of the police forces in Sudan. Police forces killed Sanhouri, a 27-year-old pharmacist, in a protest at the end of September. The Sudanese Minister of Interior Affairs claimed the state was reacting to “armed groups and individuals.” It was reported, however, that the protesters have not used any kind of force or weapons during the protest. “Mr. Sanhouri was known to be against all kinds of violence, and has always asked his fellow protesters to avoid throwing rocks or destroying property,” said Mohammed Ghazi el-Berier, his 27 year-old cousin. Sanhouri’s case was documented in a short movie that went viral on facebook and other social media sites, reflecting the popular anger.
 
The Sudanese government, like Mubarak in Egypt, cut off internet connection on September 25--after demonstrations erupted in Khartoum--in an attempt to disrupt communication and protest. But like Egypt, that attempt will not extinguish the fight against austerity and repression.
 

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