Demonstrations across the world against President Omar Al Bashir
Bashir and the regime must go – End the genocide
Unions and social movements must support this struggle!
Martin Ralph – International Socialist League
The Sudanese people are rising up Omar Al Bashir’s genocidist government across the whole of the country. Hundreds have been killed in over 150 cities by the army, their snipers and Bashir’s RSF (Rapid Support Forces) militia thugs. Those who died were part of demonstrations in the regions that include Darfur, Blue Mountains, Kardafan and Blue Nile.
The first protest was in eastern city of Atbara on 19 December in protest against the tripling of bread prices and rapidly rising fuel prices and spread across the country as many thousands of people took to the streets. Bread queues last from morning until night, but people say there is no bread or petrol.
A family with six children and with one wage earner may have a wage of 1000 Sudanese Pounds (SDG). It is not enough to last one week. One loaf costs 3SDGs, a bus ticket 15SDGs, about 500 SDG is needed daily, so a “normal” wage does not even come close to survival levels.
The government has closed schools, colleges and universities since 20 December and surrounded some in Khartoum with heavy security. On 28 December raids and detentions of students took place. They were tortured and forced to say they were Mossad agents. But these types of dirty tricks can no longer stop the struggle.
The internet has been closed down and the army even stopped a wedding because they are trying to prevent any assembly of people.
The UK’s Guardian newspaper reported on 30 December that,
“Amjed Farid, a leading civil society member who spent the first four months of 2018 in detention, said two-thirds of the country’s budget went on “security and sovereignty”, compared with less than 5% on health, education and social services combined. The economic crisis itself is of a political nature. It’s been caused by the mismanagement and corruption of those at the top of the regime,” he said. His point was echoed by those spending their days on the street.”[i]
Bashir is selling Sudan’s assets off, for example the airline which now belongs to Qatar. The government is using the money it takes from the people and public services to buy guns from the likes of Saudi Arabia and China to repress and kill the population. It has also received money from the European Union to build detention centres, much of which has also been spent on “security”,that is buying arms to use against its own people.
The uprising continues
Protests have continued in the capital Khartoum, and Atbara, Port Sudan and Madani. Even in separated South Sudan there are big demonstrations in the refugee camps in the capital Yuba. The army arrested 100 people in the city of Atbara, which is the area the president comes from.
The main demand is the fall of the Bashir and his government. This is because, in the words of Hansaa Al Kaarib, a Sudanese human rights lawyer and activist: “for 30 years, this is what the Sudanese people have been getting from Bashir: killing, killing, killing and more killing.”[ii]
Part of a typical song, that are now also sung even at weddings, includes:
“we need the country to be equal
we need a new Sudan to be democratic
we need free education
we need free health
we need new infrastructure
Bashir, we do not want you anymore”
International backers of Bashir
Yet Sudan is the 3rd largest country in Africa, which has great resources which could feed the population and develop the economy. Instead Bashir and his international backers have destroyed Sudan.
In October last year the US announced that it would be lifting sanctions, stating that Sudan had begun addressing its concerns about terrorism. Earlier in the year Saudi Arabia agreed to a five year oil deal in exchange for Sudanese troops to support the Saudi-backed government in the Yemen[iii]. The UK Tory government has also sent representatives in the last two years to deepen trade relations with Bashir, including the then Foreign Minister Boris Johnson.
So, behind the Sudanese genocide are also the governments of the US and Europe including Britain and France who sell weapons and militarily advise Saudi Arabia. That Bashir deals with Saudi Arabia in arms means that no government in the West can be under any illusions about his regime. The USA, UK and France sell weapons to the Saudi government and send military advisers to help in their use including in the genocide in Yemen.
They are able to do all of these things and yet nothing is done to arrest Bashir and take him to the International Criminal Court where he has been charged with genocide. His recent travel included a meeting with Assad in Syria to which he travelled in a Russian plane, as economic ties increase with Russia.
International solidarity action
The national wide uprising has been supported across the world by demonstrations in the UK in London, Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool and Leicester. In France in Paris, Lyon and Marseille. And also, in the Netherlands, Norway and the US, in New York.
We must support the Sudanese uprising and the refugees in the UK with acts of solidarity and support. We call on all trade unions and community organisations fighting for justice to support the Sudanese demonstrations against the government.
We salute the millions of Sudanese who are determined to get rid of Omar Al-Bashir and his regime including the countless refugees who are forced to live in many other countries. We thank especially the fighters and refugees who presented information contained in this article.
We call on the trade union and social movement in the UK (and the world) to show solidarity with the Sudanese uprising:
- Support their demonstrations
- Stop UK government and business trade and aid with Sudan (aid is used to buy weapons)
- End all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and all trade with Sudan until the government falls.
- Stop the EU “refugee solution” that includes millions of pounds for Sudanese government detention camps.
- Omar Al-Bashir must be tried at the International Criminal Court
[i] Ruth Maclean, 30 December Guardian.