News Alerts

21 Jan 2019 | 12:50 AM UTC

Sudan: Security forces disperse protesters January 20 /update 21

Sudan News Alert

Security forces disperse protesters in Omdurman and Khartoum January 20, President Bashir blames “infiltrators” for protester deaths over past month and vows not to step down before 2020 elections; more protests planned January 22 and 24

TIMEFRAME expected from 1/19/2019, 11:00 PM until 1/24/2019, 10:59 PM (Africa/Khartoum). COUNTRY/REGION Sudan, Khartoum, Sudan, Ombada, El Haj Yousef

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Event

Security forces used tear gas to disperse protesters in Omdurman that were marching to parliament to deliver a petition demanding the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir on Sunday, January 20. Related demonstrations were also reported in Khartoum's Burri and Bahari districts on Sunday and put down by security forces. There is currently no information on casualties or arrests during the day's demonstrations. However, President Bashir made a speech on Sunday that blamed infiltrators for the deaths that have taken place over the course of the month-long protest movement, stating that police had arrested men who confessed to killing protesters "in order to fuel the conflict, instigate sedition, and destroy the country." The president further vowed not to step down except if voted out in elections planned for 2020.

Additional protests are planned on Tuesday, January 22, with evening protests expected in the towns of Ombada and El Haj Yousef (Khartoum state) as well as in the capital Khartoum. Nationwide protests are also planned for Thursday January 24. Opposition organizations have also called for nightly protests to be held in Khartoum and other urban areas in the near-term. Heightened security measures and localized transportation disruptions are to be expected around any demonstration sites, and further clashes between protesters and security forces are likely.

Meanwhile, Sudan's Teachers' Committee urged all teachers on January 20 to join in the ongoing nationwide general strike. Doctors and pharmacists, on strike since late December, continue their work stoppage.

Context

Anti-government protests broke out on December 19 as hundreds of protesters gathered in major urban centers - notably in Atbara (Nile River state), Al-Qadarif (Al-Qadarif state), Port Sudan (Red Sea state), Khartoum, and even in the Darfur region in Al-Fasher and Nyala - initially to demand increased government transparency and the implementation of anti-inflation measures; their demands have since broadened to demand that President Omar al-Bashir, in power since 1989, step down. Curfews have been implemented in at least eight cities in response to the unrest, including in Kosti and Rabak (White Nile state), Al-Qadarif (Al-Qadarif state), Atbara, Al-Damir, and Berber (River Nile state), as well as in Dongola and Karima (Northern state). The Sudanese government also blocked social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, on December 31 to suppress ongoing anti-government protests in the country, and continued connectivity disruptions are to be expected in the near term.

Sudan's government has confirmed the deaths of 24 people in the protests, but this number has been disputed by rights groups that claim over 40 people have died; more than 1000 others have been detained since the demonstrations began.

Advice

Individuals in Sudan are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate telecommunication disruptions, obey all instructions issued by their home government as well as those of the local authorities (including curfew orders), and avoid all protests due to the risk of violence and arrest.

 

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