On Sunday, Sudanese protesters in Khartoum demonstrated against the regime of President Omar al Bashir. Reports of a crackdown on newspapers and students began to surface almost immediately, and international outcry has begun.
The Sudan Tribune* writes,
Sources speaking on condition of anonymity to Sudan Tribune said that Sudanese authorities confiscated in the early hours of Monday copies of the daily newspaper Ajrass al-Hurriyah, which is linked to the SPLM’s in south Sudan, and the independent daily Al-Sahafah.
The copies were seized by Sudan’s security agents as they were coming out of the printing press and getting ready for distribution.
Ajrass al-Hurriyah is one of the papers most targeted by censorship. The title was forced to suspend publication on numerous occasions in the past due to excessive censorship of its contents.
Most recently on Thursday, January 20, Ajrass al-Hurriyah had its copies confiscated by security agents after the paper was already printed.
Also, the sources said that another independent daily, which they declined to identify for fears of reprisal, was threatened with suspension by agents of the country’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) if it published reports on the protests.
Few pro-government publications carried reports on the protests, with some downplaying them as “limited rioting”, as described by the government itself.
Al Jazeera also reports censorship of newspapers, and adds that police are locking down universities.
Witnesses said at least six universities in the capital and Sudan’s regions were surrounded on Monday by hundreds of heavily armed police, preventing students from leaving the grounds.
University students in three towns in the north tried to escape to protest but were quickly arrested or beaten back by armed police, they said.
Student activists were at the forefront of the protests on Sunday. Dozens of students were arrested, and at least one died of wounds received while clashing with police.
As I wrote yesterday, President Bashir is used to being a target of hatred. We will see how Sudan’s protest movement evolves, but for the moment the crackdown appears to have thrown up a huge obstacle in the protesters’ path.
For more information, you can follow Sudan Protests on Twitter.
*I am curious to know what readers think of the Sudan Tribune‘s credibility. Have you found them reliable as a news source?