This afternoon, Sudan’s government shut off the internet, amid a third day of protests against the government. The country has seen fleeting protests since the start of uprisings in 2011, often times sparking rumors of its very own “Arab Spring.”
The grassroots protests are happening in neighborhoods all over Khartoum, the nation’s capital. The protests have come at the heels of a government decision to cut fuel subsidies, resulting in the immediate doubling of fuel prices.
A total lack of localization, as well as press gags, has made confirming news and getting updates from outside the city incredibly difficult. The decision to shut down the internet was made in order to barr activists from organizing through social media.
The Chief of Staff of Khartoum hospital stated in a live interview on BBC Arabic that there were 21 killed and 80 wounded today, most of them students. Photos of students, dead in the capital city’s streets, are starting to spread via social media.
Students in their uniformed best are taking part in the fight, which has led to an official closure of schools until at least September 30, according to BBC Arabic. The protesters are chanting: “We want the downfall of the regime.”
The de-localized nature of the protests, combined with the burning buildings, is spreading the police and National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) too thin, said Dalia Haj Omar a spokesperson for Girifna — Arabic for “we’ve had enough” — a grassroots, nonviolent protest movement against the government, that also acts as a citizen media collective.
The latest news is that police may have pulled out of the streets to protect government properties and most petrol stations in the capitol are closed (or have been burned) making mobility hard, so future protests may stay bound to neighborhoods. Shops are closing for fear of looting and which means people won’t be able to purchase basic necessities — including credit for their cell phones — potentially further impacting the outflow of information from Sudan.