Sudanese celebrate first anniversary of uprising that ousted al-Bashir

The Sudanese demonstrators demanded justice for people who died during protests.
Sunday 22/12/2019
Sudanese perform a dance in the capital Khartoum on December 19, 2019 to celebrate the first anniversary of the uprising that toppled Omar al-Bashir and to demand justice for slain protesters. (AFP)
Sudanese perform a dance in the capital Khartoum on December 19, 2019 to celebrate the first anniversary of the uprising that toppled Omar al-Bashir and to demand justice for slain protesters. (AFP)

LONDON - Hundreds of thousands of people marched across Sudan to mark the first anniversary of the start of the uprising that toppled long-time Islamist-backed President Omar al-Bashir and demand justice for people who died during protests.

Waving national flags and chanting slogans, marchers vowed to press on with the political transition that stemmed from the protests that began December 19, 2018, in Atbara and led to the military deposing al-Bashir on April 11.

Repeating a rallying cry for justice for those killed when security forces fired weapons to end a sit-in near Sudanese Defence Ministry headquarters and al-Bashir’s residence, they shouted: “Blood for blood, we won’t accept blood money!”

A Sudanese court on December 14 convicted al-Bashir on corruption charges and sentenced him to two years of detention in a reform facility, the first ruling against the former president.

Some protesters waved posters of Abdalla Hamdok, Sudan’s civilian prime minister who heads a technocratic government. “Hamdok represents me,” the signs said.

However, the authorities governing under a 3-year power-sharing agreement between the military and former opposition and protest groups are under pressure to address economic and political problems, restore the rule of law and protect human rights.

“On the first anniversary of the revolution, we reaffirm the continuation of covenant with the Sudanese people and we will not deviate from the demand for freedom, peace and justice,” the Sudanese Professionals Association, the main protest group during the uprising, said on Twitter.

Amnesty International said it was “time to deliver” on human rights.

“The responsibility on Prime Minister Hamdok’s shoulders is as large as the aspirations of the Sudanese people who suffered decades of serious human rights violations and crimes under international law including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International deputy director for East Africa. “The victims have the right to truth, justice and reparations under international law.”

The public prosecutor’s office said in a statement December 19 that it had opened more than 400 cases alleging corruption and that it was committed to investigating “all those who committed violations and all those who wasted the blood of martyrs.”

The statement said cases have been opened from 1989, the year al-Bashir seized power in a coup, through June 30, 2019.

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