Protests against Sudan’s al-Bashir regime enter fourth month
30 March 2019
On Monday, Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, saw journalists protesting to demand press freedom.
Since a wave of opposition demonstrations began on December 19, the government has routinely blocked Internet access and social media networks and censored the media. It has demanded that the newspapers submit their articles for review before printing, seized rolls of newspaper and banned foreign journalists from reporting on the protests.
Some newspapers, including Al-Maidan, Akhbar al-Watan and Al-Baath have been off the streets for more than 70 days since January. According to the Sudanese Journalists’ Network, which organised the protest, some 90 journalists critical of the government have been arrested. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says the number of arrests is unprecedented.
On February 22, the authorities arrested Othman Mirghani, editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper al-Tayar, shortly after he gave a televised interview criticising President Omar al-Bashir’s declaration of a state of emergency. He remains in custody without being charged.
The protests take place amidst the most sustained challenge to al-Bashir’s rule since he seized power in a 1989 coup. Triggered by a government decision that tripled the price of bread, the protests quickly developed into anti-government demonstrations across the country calling for al-Bashir to step down. They have drawn in ever-broader sections of the population, with nationwide strikes of workers on March 5 and 13.
Sit-ins have taken place at universities and schools, and there have been strikes by public and private sector workers, including those at Port Sudan on the Red Sea, the main gateway for Sudan’s imports and…