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‘Sudanese govt. cannot be ousted by keyboard activists’: Al Bashir

December 12 - 2016 KASSALA
President Omar Al Bashir in a rally on 21 March 2016 (file photo)
President Omar Al Bashir in a rally on 21 March 2016 (file photo)

In a first reaction to Sudan's second civil disobedience action planned for 19 December, President Omar Al Bashir said that the government is immune to civil disobedience actions and ‘Whatsapp activists’.

In a rally in Kassala town on Monday, the president stated in a speech -in the Sudanese colloquial- that a government cannot be ousted by social media.“I will not hand over the country to activists who want to get at us with their keyboards and Whatsapp.

“If you want to overthrow the regime, why don’t you criticise us in the streets? I will tell you why. We know that you will not come, as you know very well what happened in the past.”

The president referred here to the reactions of the authorities to widespread protests in the country in September and October 2013 against subsidy cuts and austerity measures that led to soaring prices of most basic commodities. Security and police forces as well as paramilitaries were deployed to quell the street protests. An unknown number of people -estimated to be more than 200- were killed.

Al Bashir further told his audience in Kassala that “Those who are after us should approach us directly .. The Salvation (government) is not Omar Al Bashir, you are!”

“If you want to overthrow the regime, why don’t you criticise us in the streets? I will tell you why. We know that you will not come, as you know very well what happened in the past.”

No fear

Pointing to his travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in end November, Al Bashir denied rumours that he fled from the three-day civil strike in Khartoum on 27-29 November. “When you called for the civil disobedience action, it happened that I was abroad on an official mission.”

He said that he represents “the pride and dignity of the Sudanese”, and stressed that he will never resign.

"The [Sudanese] land, drenched with blood of our martyrs, will never be sold for Dollars. We will never hand it to keyboard and Whatsapp activists.”

Al Bashir told the crowd in defiance of the indictments by the International Criminal Court that “I'm ready to travel to the New York today if the United States granted me a visa [..]. I would enter [..] the land of the enemy.” He further emphasised that he does not know any fear.

Activists

In the Al Jazeera TV programme The Stream of last week, Sudanese commentator Ahmed Kodouda explained that the current regime “has been extremely brutal” against popular uprisings.

“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 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.”

One of the “keyboard activists” told Radio Dabanga over the weekend that “We are using the social media in a highly organised manner. In this way, we are able to undermine the various attempts by the authorities to jam the upcoming disobedience action through the electronic jihad [holy war] brigades.”

The activists predict that the current regime will be overthrown by next April.  


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