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“Free Sudan, new Sudan”: hundreds rally in support of Sudan

Protesters gathered in Hyde Park while other demonstrations took place in Brisbane and Melbourne

A photo of a protester hoisted on the shoulders of two others, holding a Sudanese flag and speaking into a megaphone Protesters at Hyde Park.

Hundreds gathered in Hyde Park on Saturday to rally in support of the Sudanese pro-democracy movement and to condemn the brutal wave of violence and repression inflicted by the Sudanese military over the course of June.

The rally attracted at least 200 people. Similar rallies were held in Brisbane and Melbourne.

Organiser Amalia Achrafi spoke to Honi about the event.

“The purpose of today’s rally was to raise awareness and advocate for the people who’re oppressed, degraded, dehumanised and subjected to the cruelties of today’s harsh world. It is not okay. We need to put an end to the bloodshed that has flooded our lands and our rivers.”

Chants throughout the rally included “Egypt, hands away, UAE, hands away”, a reference to the perceived interest of the two countries in repressing democratic change. Speakers also took the opportunity to condemn the inflammatory rhetorical treatment of Sudanese refugees in Australia by figures such as Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

Civil unrest began in Sudan December 2018 with protests against then President Omar al-Bashir and escalated until his ousting by the military in April this year. The military has retained control since, and on 3 June murdered at least 30 protesters in Khartoum.

One of those killed was Mohamed Hashim Mattar. Mattar’s favourite colour was blue, and in the weeks since the massacre, the colour has come to represent the movement. Many at the rally were dressed in blue, with some handing out blue scarves.

Sudan has been under an internet blackout for almost three weeks, hampering media coverage.

Many have criticised the international response to the crisis, suggesting not enough has been done to draw attention to the gravity of the situation. One sign at the rally read “Give Sudan the same energy y’all gave that empty building in Paris.”

“Institutional powers such as news outlets have provided very light coverage in regards to this issue,” Achrafi said.

“Through hashtagisim, we have been able to reach a larger scale audience to raise awareness about the injustices occurring in Sudan.”