Sudan's female-led revolution – which saw off the country's president of 30 years, Omar Al-Bashir – was a source of hope. But last week, following a series of smaller lethal attacks across the country, regime forces brutally massacred demonstrators staging a sit-in in Khartoum on the day before Eid, the deadliest assault since Al-Bashir stepped down.
Friday 14 June 2019
Editor's note: Some readers may find the description of events distressing.
Sudan captivated global attention with clips of the beauty and courage of its revolution. Spearheaded by women and pulsing with creative expression, it was successful in the first step of getting rid of its president of 30 years, Omar Al-Bashir, but his regime continues. A sit-in in the capital, Khartoum, formed in April to demand the start of democracy, became the heart of the revolution, with hundreds of thousands gathering together each day in a space that embodied the 'New Sudan' people dreamed of. But, last week marked a turning point.
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The day before Eid, at dawn, regime forces snuck up on the sit-in while demonstrators were asleep to massacre the people and destroy the site. Peaceful protesters were shot, beaten or hacked with machetes, their bodies thrown into the River Nile. Tents were burned down with inhabitants inside.Women and men alike were raped. The death toll sits at 118 from that day alone, according to a group of doctors aligned with the protestors, but bodies are still being found and the violence continues across the country. The sit-in — home to so much art, community and joy — was razed to the ground. The internet has been shut down ever since. A statewide strike left the city deserted for three days in a powerful act of civil disobedience.
We have been following three pioneering women who have played a significant role in the revolution in Sudan. They update us on this dark turn of events, while reaffirming that the fight is far from over.
Alaa Satir, artist and illustrator.
Eid in Sudan is usually so festive. You wake up to Eid greetings and selfies all over social media. This time it was quiet. People were heartbroken. Everyone, including myself, spent the day watching the videos, catching up with news, crying all day - it really broke us all.