Mass civil disobedience in Sudan

A three-day general strike has brought Sudan to a stand still as people mobilise against the government and inequality. Jenny Nelson writes.

November 27, 2016 · 4 min read

sudan-2Today the streets of Sudan lie uncharacteristically quiet as many residents stay at home for the start of a three-day general strike. The rising costs of fuel prices has been reported as a cause, but people are also very angry about medicine prices, inequality and the general cost of living.

Human rights activist Abdalraheem Saad said “everything is bad; transport, education, healthcare; there are a lot of poor people, and a there are a lot of rich people who we see as associated with the government”.

Opposition groups called for action to overthrow the current regime. One leaflet reads:

‘Dear Sudanese citizens, please participate in this civil disobedience from 27 – 29 November. Your participation in the civil disobedience is participation in changing the situation in Sudan. No-one should step back because he has a good situation; even if your situation is really good, your brother will die, and your neighbours and others, who don’t have access to food or healthcare. We are begging you, all employees, workers, and students, please, for us, and for you and for them and for your children, and for Sudan.’

The protest movement has been building for years and participants are mixed in age, tribe and religion, with a strong representation of young people and women mobilising on social media. They have appealed for the support of the international community as well as international media. Their concern appears to be change for the better of all, but the government is not expected to give up easily and there are signs of oppression already on Twitter; in the video below a person appears to be harassed for sharing footage of the empty streets on Facebook. Earlier this year Amnesty International reported the repeated use of chemical weapons against civilians, including very young children, in remote parts of Darfur.


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