Bread revolution in Sudan

TEHRAN, Dec. 26 (MNA) – The rise of bread price along with loss of a large part of Sudan’s resources and other issues over the years have triggered protests in the African country.

Sudan has been witnessing mass protests for some time. To understand the depth of Sudanese’s’ horrible condition it suffices to refer to an interview Reuters had conducted with a protestor who said he has been unable to buy a loaf of bread for four days.

The process of development in Sudan is accelerating to an extent that it has reached the capital. Subsequently, the internet was disrupted in the country and some social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp were filtered. Schools closed down. In two cities of Omdurman and Atbara, police attacked demonstrators who took to the streets for rising prices and reduction in liquidity and fired tear gas.

According to media reports, protesters in Khartoum, not far away from the Presidential Palace, chanted slogans calling for the withdrawal of Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan, from power. Some sources have reported about 10 deaths and some 22. The hub for the protestors was the city of Atbara.

Atbara is the second most important city, after the city of Ad-Damir, in the province of Nahr al-Neel. The office of the British Colonial Railway Company was located in the city of Atbara, which is why it is called the city of iron and fire. The city of Atbara is a longtime base of the Communist Party of Sudan. For this reason, throughout history, the city has been the origins of labor protests against the ruling dictatorship.

Atbara is home to the office of the president of Nile Valley University (NVU) and several cement factories and light food industries.

The first demonstration in the city of Atbara was held by students and railway workers in protest of bread shortage and began on December 19. They closed the street leading to the radio and television building.

Another demonstration took place in Alshaya area, where protesters threw stones at the building of the ruling National Congress Party while several other demonstrations took place in other areas. The number of participants in the TV street rally reached 3,000.

The most important part of the demonstrations was in the cinema street where protestors chanted slogans of overthrowing the regime, and a group of artillery units who were passing by on a vehicle lifted their guns in solidarity with protestors.

One of the most important scenes in the protest rally was when the two-story building of the ruling party was set on fire. It's unclear who set fire to this building, and whether it was the angry protesters or other people? The dissidents believe that militants and security forces burn the building and destroy public and private property to undermine the image of protesters, as happened in the September 2013 uprising.

Bread was the main cause of the protest

Although Sudanese authorities were taken aback by the demonstrations, the current situation is a result of accumulated crisis over the years. Since 2011 and following the separation of southern Sudan, the country suffers a severe economic crisis, and one reason for that is the separation of oil fields with the independence of southern Sudan from the north.

In fact, these protests were predictable from a few days ago, especially since reports from inside Sudan have been indicative of the difficult situation, especially bread and fuel. The Sudanese economy is in its worst shape with inflation, and the country’s currency is taking a sluggish trend against the dollar. The loss of oil revenues with the independence of South Sudan in 2011 has played a huge role in the country’s downward economy.

Many investors refuse to work and invest in Sudan, which is still on the list of sponsors of Washington's terrorism, and its president is being prosecuted by international tribunals for mass murder in Darfur.

Sudan has entered a nightmare and the banks have lost liquidity because Sudanese citizens have withdrawn their money from the banks and exchanged it for dollars. Only a few currency exchange stores operate in Khartoum, and banks in other parts of the country only allow citizens to withdraw $10 a day.

The situation became critical to the extent that the government could not provide flour for the bread industry as well as fuel for public transport and vehicles. After that, prices skyrocketed and the black market emerged for the basic necessities.

The Sudanese government made a strategic mistake when they allocated the fuel and flour of other states to the capital. The price of bread in Sudan increased a lot. The crackdown on the demonstrators became more violent as time went by.

Has the military lost hope in the regime?

The thing that could have happened in the city of Atbara was the army's support of the demonstrators against the police and the security forces. Army forces stationed in some areas and prevented a violent crackdown on people, and in some areas, including Atbara support the protesters. Some reports show police adherents to protesters.

Some analysts see the move as a departure from the army and military institutions of this country with Omar al-Bashir, and the withdrawal of his support and others as an attempt to calm the angry protesters.

Where do the political parties stand in the bread revolution?

Political parties initially did not take a stand on the rallies, and perhaps because they keep away from the actions of some protesters in destruction of state and private property. But when the changes became intense and they were out of control of the ruling party, and the rules of prohibition were applied in al-Qaziraf and Atbara, the National Umma Party changed position and urged supporters to take part in the rallies.

The Egyptian ruler worried about the spread of Sudan's demonstrations and movements

Egyptian security officials and the Egyptian presidency have ordered the media to refrain from addressing the Sudanese demonstrations to prevent similar incidents. According to the report, Egyptian media have not yet responded to the incident after four days of Sudanese unrest that killed and injured dozens of protesters. Even the regional newspapers of al-Ahram, al-Akhbar and al-Mumouriya have not reported any news of Sudan's incidents. The Egyptian government is worried by its neighbors with Sudan that the scope of protests will spread to Egypt in bad livelihoods and economic problems in the near future.

Omar al-Bashir's reasons refusal to leave the presidential seat

If al-Bashir resigns from power, he must surrender to the International Criminal Court, as Umar al-Bashir is prosecuted by the International Criminal Court on charges of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and mass murder in the Darfur region of western Sudan. In 2009 and 2010 the court issued his arrest warrant.

Another reason is that al-Bashir, despite the aggravation of existing crises, prepares himself for the elections in 2020 and does not spare any efforts to overcome the constitutional obstacles; while under article 57 of the constitution adopted in the year 2005 Sudan, no one more than 2 courses can become a presidential candidate.

The role of Sudanese military involvement in the Yemeni war in a crisis

Omar al-Bashir, in hopes of grabbing money for servicing the country's military economy, sent Yemen to the fighting fronts, but many political currents and popular campaigns in Sudan demand the country’s return to the Yemeni War.

The fraction of the forces of change in Sudan's parliament also called for the immediate withdrawal of Sudanese forces from the war with Yemen and called for Sudan's armed forces to oppose the constitution to the Yemeni war.

It seems that the current crisis is different from the preceding ones, and we have to follow the course of Sudan's developments and anticipate the end of bread revolution.

MNA/TT

News Code 140937

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