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Atbara ‘freedom train’ arrives in Sudan capital for Constitutional Declaration celebrations

August 17 - 2019 ATBARA / KHARTOUM
Freedom Train arrives in Khartoum from Atbara this morning (RD)
Freedom Train arrives in Khartoum from Atbara this morning (RD)

A train carrying members and supporters of Sudan’s opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) arrived in Khartoum this morning to be greeted by throngs of ecstatic crowds.

As the train plied its way across Khartoum state to arrive in the centre of the city this afternoon, cheering crowds lined the rails.

As reported by Radio Dabanga yesterday, members of the FFC in River Nile state announced they would travel by train from Atbara to Khartoum on Friday evening to attend the ceremonial signing of the agreement between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the FFC today.

FFC leader Badreldin Hussein told Radio Dabanga from Atbara in River Nile state that though the people support the agreements, “they will be vigilant until the demands set out in the Declaration of Freedom and Change will be fulfilled and retribution for the blood of the martyrs has been achieved”.

The occupants of the train and many supporters are currently heading for a mass celebration in Khartoum’s Freedom Square.

Freedom Train from Atbara arrives in Khartoum today (RD)


Sit-in

The train from Atbara is important symbolically. It is the second time the train has made the journey to Khartoum. In April, hundreds of people rode on what activists called the ‘freedom train’, from the headquarters of the Sudanese Railways in Atbara to the capital Khartoum, to swell the sit-in outside the General Command of the Sudanese army, and to provide those already at the sit-in with food and supplies. The sit-in was later violently dispersed in what became known as the June 3 Khartoum massacre, which left more than 100 people dead and hundreds more wounded.

Atbara is also symbolic because while there have been sporadic uprisings of public anger in Sudan for years, it was the bread and fuel riots in Atbara  on December 19, 2018 that, within three weeks, spread across the country. Undaunted by brutal government suppression, the revolt culminated in the Khartoum sit-in, mass civil disobedience, and the overthrow by military coup d'état of the 30-year dictatorship of Omar Al Bashir.


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