Sunday was billed by Sudanese activists as a “Day of Dignity” where people would take to the streets with demands ranging from protection from state security to the overhaul of the regime in Khartoum.
Street protests have flared numerous times in Sudan over the past two years, as some Sudanese seek to replicate the Arab uprisings happening elsewhere in the region.
This week’s protests have escalated after four Darfuri students were found dead in the town of Wad Madani, which lies along the Blue Nile in central Sudan. The students had been part of a protest at the University of Al-Jazirah where Darfuri students had been denied tuition benefits that where promised to them under the terms of the Darfur Peace Agreement. Amnesty International confirmed reports that the four students were detained by the National Security Service before being found dead.
Outside the Sudanese embassy in Cairo, 10, primarily Sudanese, protestors held signs and beat a drum to show solidarity with the protests occurring in Sudan. The group chanted: “killing one of us is like killing all of us.”
Safa Shaman, a student in Cairo who had previously studied at the University of Khartoum, was outside the embassy on Sunday. She said she believes the killing of the Darfuri students was to fuel the flames of racism in her home country and encourage a division that empowers the regime in Khartoum.
Shaman held a sign that said in English and Arabic, “your racism is not going to separate us.”
“Today is one day that all the activists are coming together in Sudan,” said Shaman, herself part of a group called Sudan Change Now, which aims to overthrow the Sudanese regime, dismantle legislative institutions, and establish a new justice system to hold political criminals accountable. Shaman said that while there are many activist groups in Sudan, they are seizing this opportunity to demonstrate together.
A number of people at the Cairo protests held placards bearing the image of Jalila Khamis. Khamis has been in jail for nine months outside the Sudanese capital and on Thursday her trial began in which she is accused of “waging war against the state.” Khamis is a mother of five and was active in documenting the abuses against the people of the Nuba Mountains. Her face has become a symbol of the nascent of the Sudanese protest movement.
Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide.