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Darfur visit: Al Bashir defiant against change

January 14 - 2019 DARFUR
Al Bashir speaks at a rally (file photo)
Al Bashir speaks at a rally (file photo)

One day after a demonstration calling for the fall of the regime, Al Bashir visited Nyala today to tell the capital of South Darfur that the protests "will not change the government."

The Sudanese president arrived in Nyala today, greeted by a crowd of supporters. He told them that “The government does not change through demonstrations.” 

The president also mentioned the upcoming elections in 2020, for which he will be running for a third term. He said, "There's only one road to power and that is through the ballot box. The Sudanese people will decide in 2020 who will govern them."

His visit was announced yesterday by government vehicles, which roamed the city with loudpseakers calling for people to go out to receive the president.

Since protests began, there have been reports of deaths and serious injury to demonstrators, and live ammunition and tear gas has been used in an attempt to quell the so-called #SudanUprising. Sudan’s western region of Darfur witnessed considerably less protests against the regime compared to the unrest in cities in central and eastern states of the country. However, there has been more activity over the past week, leading to a significant increase in the number of security personnel in Nyala.

A peaceful demonstration took place in the centre of the city on Sunday despite the security services’ occupation of the place announced as the starting point of the march. The demonstrators could be heard shouting “peaceful, peaceful against the thieves” and “the people want to topple the regime”.

The security services, led by the Popular Security Apparatus beat protestors with batons and used tear gas to disperse crowds. They also allegedly detained over 50 people.

El Fasher

There was also a huge increase in the number of security personnel in the streets of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, on Sunday. As a result, planned protests did not go ahead.

An activist told Radio Dabanga that larges numbers of masked men dressed in civilian clothes walked through El Fasher market throughout the morning. In addition, security forces of all types were deployed within the market and neighbouring districts.

I was reported by the activists that arrests were carried out before the protest march began. The security forces have already undergone a large-scale campaign of detentions among activists and leaders and opposition political forces in Darfur. This includes Amani Hasabo, the head of the Sudanese Congress Party in North Darfur.

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