Sudan's government restored access to major social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as of Wednesday, February 27, following two months of restricted access. The decision came shortly after President Omar al-Bashir renewed the state of emergency, dissolved the government, and implemented strict laws banning unauthorized gatherings and expanding the power of police and intelligence forces. Further protests are possible in the coming days and weeks, despite the crackdown. Clashes with security forces at protest sites are likely along with localized transportation and business disruptions.
President Omar al-Bashir declared a one-year state of emergency on February 22, dissolved the cabinet, and dismissed all state governors. Opposition leaders defied the declaration and called on supporters to continue protests. Bashir swore in a new government and introduced army and intelligence officers as state governors.
Anti-government protests began on December 19, 2018, as hundreds of protesters gathered in major urban centers. Protests initially demanded increased government transparency and improved economic policies but have broadened to demand the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir, who has been in power since 1989 and has vowed not to step down until at least 2020. Social media access was blocked or severely restricted from December 31, 2018, until February 27. The government has confirmed the deaths of at least 33 people due to protests, though human rights groups claim as many as 51 people have died and 1000 others have been arrested since the protests began.
Individuals in Sudan are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate continued telecommunication disruptions, adhere to instructions issued by their home governments and local authorities, and avoid all protests and public gatherings due to the risk of violence and arrest.
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