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Two revolutions, one struggle: As Algerians, we stand with Sudan Open in fullscreen

Malia Bouattia

Two revolutions, one struggle: As Algerians, we stand with Sudan

Sudanese protesters hold a banner displaying Algerian and Sudanese national flags [AFP]

Date of publication: 18 June, 2019

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Comment: Algerian protesters have made it clear that both countries' revolutions are part of one and the same struggle for freedom and against tyranny in the region, writes Malia Bouattia.
Since the brutal crackdown on protesters in Sudan on 3 June, the international community has taken to social media in the hope of expressing solidarity, to call for justice over the hundreds of deaths, and to shed light on the violence inflicted by the Sudanese military upon the people, amid an internet blackout forced upon the country.

Since December 2018, the Sudanese people have been protesting against the three decade-long dictatorial rule of their then-President Omar al-Bashir.

Following his successful ousting in early April, the Transitional Military Council (TMC) took over the running of the country with Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan as its head.

Protests continued through mass sit-ins and occupations at the headquarters of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) in Khartoum.

They demanded a civilian-led rather than military-led government. This continued for weeks, and on the eve of Eid el Fitr - a celebration that marks the end of the holy fasting month for the Muslim-majority in the country - forces arrested over 1,000, attacked demonstrators with tear gas, live ammunition and rubber bullets, beat them, burnt tents, and shot at them, killing over
100 and wounding at least 500.

The violence erupted after meetings took place between leaders of the TMC, and officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt. A familiar trend across the region, further demonstrating Saudi Arabia's role at the heart of counter-revolution in the region.

Algerians who took to the streets during the weekly Friday demonstrations chanted condolences and solidarity with their martyred brothers and sisters in Sudan

From the #IAmTheSudanRevolution hashtag that was trending on twitter, to the blank blue, and now red profile pictures across social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram, people around the world - led by activists across the Sudanese diaspora - are expressing their rage over the silencing of the Sudanese people.

As the military-led censorship continues, many fear that the damage could be even worse than currently thought, as more and more protestors are listed missing.

The crackdown is also unlikely to end anytime soon, according to Shamseddine Kabbashi, the spokesman for the Transitional Military Council who last Wednesday, 
stated that the internet blackout will carry on for the supposed purpose of national security.

In Sudan, the people have continued to apply pressure despite the violent repression. In response to the bloody week, protestors called for nationwide civil disobedience.

In the UK, the Sudanese community and allies of the revolution have called on people to join demonstrations and vigils. Solidarity protests have been taking place every weekend. MENA Solidarity Network and Sudanese trade union groups have called on people to rally outside the embassies of complicit nations, starting with the UAE, followed by Egypt and finishing with Saudi Arabia. 

Furthermore, on Saturday the 21st June, activists will hold a vigil for the fallen martyrs of Sudan outside the EU embassy. Zeena Alhassan, one of the hosts, said that the vigil seeks "to remember these revolutionaries as people not numbers; we refuse to let their stories and legacies go forgotten in history."

Sudan's military has been one of the key regimes funded by Europe in order to stop migration from Eastern Africa reaching the shores of the continent

Organisers have targeted the EU in particular because of its complicity with the Sudanese regime through security projects, which has included intelligence gathering and assuming better control over the Sudanese people.

What is more, Sudan's military has been one of the key regimes funded by Europe in order to stop migration from Eastern Africa reaching the shores of the continent, effectively expanding its borders. In exchange for waging war on migrants, the regime is given free rein to oppress, torture, and massacre its own people by the supposed defenders of the international liberal order.

At the vigil, attendees are invited to paint their hands red, similar to other Sudanese activists across Europe, "to signify the blood that lies on the EU's hands, an ally of Sudan's oppressive regime and a major benefactor of the janjaweed militias since their conception."

Translation: From the heart of the capital, 
the Algerian people are grateful to their Sudanese brothers

Organisers also added that, "Our position in the UK means that we are best placed to apply direct pressure on this institution."

Algerians in the UK, who have also been rallying in London against the military regime in Algeria in support of the mass national protests taking place in the country itself, will also join the vigil on the 21st.

Sudanese activists have stressed the need to build broad alliances-especially with a people experiencing a similar chapter in their political history. Alhassan, explained that, "We hope this can illustrate how all of our struggles are interconnected and how, in our collective fight for liberation, another world is possible."

As Algerians supporting the mass revolution at home and across the region, we look to Sudan - where uprisings began a few months prior - as an indication of what is potentially to come to our own people.

Following the massacre of protestors in Khartoum, Algerians who took to the streets during the weekly Friday demonstrations
chanted condolences and solidarity with their martyred brothers and sisters in Sudan.

Since the end of February, when Algerians expressed their anger through country-wide action, solidarity with the Sudanese revolution has been present in most participating cities and villages.

Whether through placards or chants and songs, Algerian protesters have repeatedly made clear that both countries' revolution are part of one and the same struggle for freedom and against tyranny in the region.

This approach is one we need to bring to the streets of London, also.

The advances of any struggle against oppression, are advances for all those struggling for their own rights and freedom.

The same is true for setbacks and defeats. Our struggles need to be understood as truly international. Weakening our own regimes at home, will strengthen the revolutionary movements in the Global South. The defeat of oppressive regimes will open up greater spaces for resistance and struggle for us all.


Malia Bouattia is an activist, a former president of the National Union of Students, and co-founder of the Students not Suspects/Educators not Informants Network.

Follow her on Twitter: @MaliaBouattia

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.

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