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Sudan: Broad support for next civil disobedience action

December 11 - 2016 KHARTOUM
Khartoum on the first day of the civil obedience action, 27 November 2016 (RD)
Khartoum on the first day of the civil obedience action, 27 November 2016 (RD)

A large number of Sudanese political forces and civil society members have announced their full support to the civil disobedience action scheduled for the 19th of December.

After the three-day civil strike held in Khartoum on 27-29 November, in protest against the austerity measures taken by the government in November, an alliance of 18 activist groups called via social media for a second civil disobedience action, using the hashtag #sudancivildisobediencedecember19. The new action is scheduled to take place exactly 61 years after the Sudanese parliament unanimously adopted a declaration of independence.

The activists further reported that they are working in a decentralised way. They formed small “resistance committees in the neighbourhoods and working places” to support the strike on 19 December. 

Intifada

The opposition forces that signed the Sudan Appeal, a two-page manifest calling for regime-change and democracy, in Addis Ababa two years ago, as well as the parties and civil society organisations that adopted the document in Khartoum in early 2015, urged the Sudanese to respond to the call for a second civil strike.

The spokesman for the Sudan Appeal forces, Mohamed Faroug Salman, called on “the people all over Sudan” to join the coming protest campaign against the huge increases in food and medicines prices, the detention of a large number of politicians and activists, and the curbing of the press.

The governing body of the mainstream Democratic Unionist Party, one of the oldest political parties in Sudan, has urged “all its members in all states of Sudan” to join the 19 December action. They called for the formation of “a unified centre” for the coordination of the action “in preparation of a peaceful intifada to topple the regime”.

Abdeljabbar Dosa, chairman of the Sudanese Common Party, and Dr Abu Mohamed Abu Amna, head of the Beja Congress’ Leadership Bureau have also announced their support for the coming civil disobedience action. Abu Amna called on the Beja Congress members to join the resistance committees as well.

The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) called on the supporters of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (an alliance of Sudan’s main armed movements) and the Sudan Appeal forces “to play a pivotal role in the activation of the call for civil disobedience”..

The Sudanese El Balabil women’s band announced the cancellation of a concert scheduled for 19 December. On its Facebook page, the popular band stated that they want to give their audience the chance to join the civil disobedience action.

The members of the No to Women’s Oppression Initiative, linked to the National Umma Party, also expressed their support for the new civil disobedience action.

Popular Committee

In an attempt to prevent the resistance committees from meeting, the Popular Committee of the El Ferdows district in Khartoum prohibited meetings and public events such as wedding parties and other celebrations without the knowledge of the Committee.

After the military coup led by Omar Al Bashir in 1989, the new government set up popular committees in the neighbourhoods that served as a means for monitoring households. These committees caused many citizens to be wary of neighbours who could report them for “suspicious activities”.

Tactics

In Al Jazeera’s English programme of The Stream last week, Sudanese commentator Ahmed Kodouda explained the reason for the choice of disobedience actions instead of street protests. The regime “has been extremely brutal” against popular uprisings, he said. “As we have seen in September 2013, when it killed some 200 protesters throughout the country.

“The Sudanese people have recognised that they have to change their tactics and operate in a way that allows them to send a clear message to the government. [The current protest] has been very successful in that it showed that people are able to mobilise and able to send a clear message, not only to the government but also to the opposition which has failed so far to create a viable alternative to this government.”  

'Challenges'

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) held a meeting in Khartoum on Saturday to discuss “the challenges facing the country”, including the coming civil disobedience action on 19 December.

In his address to the meeting, Presidential Aide and NCP Deputy Chairman Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid said that the country is not only targeted externally but also internally. “Sudan is facing an unfair campaign that aims to exploit its resources and wealth,” he said.


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