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Sudan's second civil disobedience action ’partially successful’ in Khartoum

December 19 - 2016 KHARTOUM
The National Guard parades in Khartoum on the occasion of the 61st anniversary of Sudan's Independence Declaration,19 December 2016  (Twitter)
The National Guard parades in Khartoum on the occasion of the 61st anniversary of Sudan's Independence Declaration,19 December 2016 (Twitter)

Today, Sudan witnessed the second civil disobedience action in response to the austerity measures of November and the ensuing price hikes. Initial reports about the success of the civil strike vary, in the absence of an independent mechanism for reliable measurement.

According to political scientist Dr Salaheldin El Doma, the civil disobedience action of today “clearly received a larger response than the earlier three-day strike” on 27-29 November. He estimates that the action today was 45-50 per cent successful.

El Doma told Radio Dabanga that civil disobedience actions, as a means alone, are not enough to bring down the regime. “It has to be blended with other types of civil resistance action.

“The participation of political parties in the fundamental process of resistance is essential. It is impossible for youth groups to do this work without the support of older politicians, because of their previous experiences with resistance to dictatorships.”

The political analyst added that the political parties must pressure the government with clear demands. “The parties have the constitutional right to address their audiences, but this right is consistently hampered by the authorities.”

“Civil disobedience actions, as a means alone, are not enough to bring down the regime.”

Tension

The editor-in-chief of the independent El Jareeda daily newspaper, Ashraf Abdelaziz, told this station that the action today was less successful than the three-day civil strike in late November.

“The poor response can be attributed to several factors. One of them is that in November, the people were still in a kind of shock over the skyrocketing prices of medicines. Another factor is that this time the authorities have exerted efforts in all kinds of ways to weaken the response to the disobedience calls,” Abdelaziz said.

“Despite the poor response, the calls for the civil strike did cause great tension among the authorities. We all perceived it in their statements in the past days. The calls for the strike had a large impact on the government. It cannot be doubted anymore that the regime does not have the blessing of the people,” he added.

Mercenaries’

In his address to the members of the Khartoum state parliament this morning to mark the 61st anniversary of Sudan’s Declaration of Independence, the second vice-president of Sudan, Hasabo Abdelrahman, launched a scathing attack on the advocates of the civil disobedience action. He called them “saboteurs and mercenaries who have no place in Sudan”.

“The actions aim to ignite chaos and insurgency, and disrupt the country's interests.”

This year, the Khartoum state government publicly commemorated the Declaration of Independence for the first time. Multiple sources reported to this station that the main roads in downtown Khartoum were closed for the occasion. “This forced the cars of those people who did decide to leave their homes to take other roads, which gave the artificial impression that life was going on in a normal way.”

To mark the occasion, the state radio and television, the Ashorooq satellite channel and other pro-government channels changed their daily programmes – also for the first time – to national songs.

The governor of Khartoum, Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, called the civil disobedience action “a waste of time and energy”. According to Hussein, “The actions aim to ignite chaos and insurgency, and disrupt the country's interests”.


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