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Sudan celebrates independence in protest

January 01, 2019 at 07:00 am | News

Nduta Waweru

Nduta Waweru | Contributor

January 01, 2019 at 07:00 am | News

Photo: Newsclick

Before it came to be independent on January 1, 1956, Sudan was a crown colony of the United Kingdom in an agreement with Egypt that saw it run by a governor-general since 1899.

For the longest while, the biggest issue was the unification of Egypt and Sudan, but this did not come to be as Egypt acknowledged that the only way for Britain to leave Sudan is by abandoning its claim on the country.  The UK and Egypt eventually signed an agreement in 1954, granting Sudan its independence on this day in 1956.

Since independence until today, Sudan has faced quite a number of challenges, some of which have reared heads in 2018 leading to mass protests and dissatisfaction with the government.

Since Thursday, Dec 19, 2018, the streets of Sudan’s major cities have been taken over by citizens, protesting the increasing costs of living in a country beleaguered with a cash crisis for a better part of the year.  The crisis has seen an increase in the price of basic products including bread.

As of December 30, the protest was joined by professionals such as doctors and opposition leaders, who are now calling for the end of the Omar Al Bashir’s regime.

Bashir is one of Africa’s longest serving president, serving the country since he took over in a coup in 1989 and was set to continue leading after the ruling party  made a constitutional amendment to allow him to run again in 2020.

On Friday December 28, the Association of Sudanese Professionals, published a statement to call for protests on  the eve of the country’s independence day.

“The Secretary and the members of the Democratic Front for lawyers decided to strike at the courts, judicial houses and government institutions on Monday, December 31, 2018, with the courts as a point of convergence towards the specific site from which the second peaceful procession of the Sudanese professionals gathering will proceed,” read part of the statement posted on Twitter.  

According to Amnesty International, at least 37 people have been killed in the protests after security officials aggressively tried to quell the uprising. A number of opposition officials, including Sudanese Congress Party Omar el-Digeir and senior leader of Sudan’s Communist Party Siddiq Youssef, and other activists have been arrested.

Monday’s protests took place despite the government announcement, last week, that it would carry out economic reforms to ensure a decent living for the citizens. The ruling party, however, believes that the protests were the handiwork of left-wing parties.  Bashir on Christmas Day denounced the protests, claiming that infidels and foreign stooges. He was however booed on numerous occasions.

This marks another event in Sudan’s long years of protests that date as far back as 1964 when what is currently known as Sudan’s October Revolution took place. The uprising saw the ouster of Ibrahim Abboud.  Other protests took place in 2013 when more than 200 people were killed and in 2016 when the country when on strike and participated in civil disobedience over increased costs of electricity, medication and fuel.

As Sudan marks 63 years of independence, the citizens are still in the search for better life.

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