Battlefield in Omdurman during day of protests in Sudan
Anti-government protests broke out following Friday prayers in several parts of Sudan. The “Friday of elbow-licking" took place in all main cities such as Khartoum, Al Barra, Al Nuhud, Al Obeid, Kassala and Wad Medani amid a severe crackdown by police and security forces. Massive protest took place in the Ansar Mosque in Wad Nubawi, in Fitihab town and other areas in Omdurman.
The main demonstrations took place in Wad Nubawi, the headquarters in Omdurman of the UMMA-party led by Sadiq al Mahdy. Yousif Almahdi, a witness, described the situation: “From 3 until 7 PM we had full control of Al Douma street, Wad Al Basir and Al Hijra Square and all side roads. For three hours the police was doing hit and run, but they can't get in”. At around 9:30 PM the police took control and the streets were empty. A Twitter user nicknamed 'Doody' reported: “Ansar mosque definitely surrounded from three sides. Protests now dying down. Fear is they will storm this Mosque. About to pray Mughrib teargas inside mosque lots of worshippers coughing”.
In the back of the main mosque a first aid room was created after tens of wounded demonstrators were brought in for treatment. Maryam al Mahdy, who stayed inside the mosque told Radio Dabanga that the number of people wounded by tear gas and other violence was increasing until late in the afternoon.
According to Miriam Al Sadiq Al Mahdi, a leader of the Umma Party, the tear gas canisters, made in China, carried the warning not to throw them directly into a crowd. She stated that security forces used disproportionate violence against the protesters. The use of rubber bullets and tear gas caused injuries and breathing problems. She described how she witnessed two ladies hit by rubber bullets and one man who was hit with life ammunition. Security forces threw tear gas into the Mosque whilst women were reading the Koran. Protesters blocked the road leading to the mosque in an attempt to stop the police from entering.
In Khartoum demonstrations erupted in Buri, 16 street, Al Daeim, Jabra Al Iskan, Id Husein, Al Kalakala and Al Wahda. Security and police forces were stationed around the main hubs of protests before the end of the Friday prayers. Many protesters were arrested or injured by security forces. Nevertheless, protesters insisted on continuing and chanted slogans calling for the downfall of the government.
In Bahri (Khartoum North) demonstrations broke out in several locations at the same time. The largest one took place in the street of Ali Al Marghani in front of the Ali Al Marghani Mosque (see picture). The towns of Al Qadaru, Al Merania, Shambat, Adrushab, Hilad Hamed, Hilad Ghojeli, Sababi, Danagla also saw protests. In Hay Yousif (Khartoum North) twenty demonstrators burnt tires at the intersection of the main road.
Students of the Omdurman Islamic University demonstrated after the Friday prayers. They attempted to reach the center of Omdurman but the police prevented them by force and arrests.
Protests broke out in the marketplace after prayers had ended. The police used tear gas and batons injuring and arresting many. Musab Jubara, a student of Kassala University, was arrested.
In Wad Medani the protests had started on Thursday evening and continued after Friday prayers. The people were chanting and calling for the fall of the regime. Police and security forces stopped the protesters and managed to disperse the crowds. A female activist told Radio Dabanga that four demonstrators were arrested: Barakat Bilal, Waleed Oshodoboni, Lu'ai, Seid Ahmed, Badawi.
In Al Nuhud security forces arrested more than 20 protesters after Friday prayers. The protesters were beaten and chased by the security forces.
In Barra police and security forces used tear gas and batons against the protesters. Fifteen youths were arrested and a lawsuit was filed against them. Ahmed Sir Alkhatim, member of the Democratic Unionist Party, called for their release and declared his intention to defend them in court. He stated “To arrest someone for protesting is against the constitution of Sudan. The constitution of Sudan gives citizens the right of free speech, peaceful gathering. It is their right to protest”.
Demonstrations took place after Friday prayers in “the Big Mosque” in Al Obeid. The police surrounded the mosque before the end of the prayers. Demonstrations erupted in many mosques in the city.
On Thursday the police had entered the student dorms at the University of Al Gedarif and arrested around 300 students. Many of them were released shortly after their arrests,however, some remain in custody. The police used tear gas and batons against the students and looted the dorms. The police tried to arrest the students Mohammed Ibrahim but he refused and was consequently stabbed with a knife.
Journalists arrested and pictures confiscated
Armed security agents on Friday raided the AFP bureau in Khartoum and arrested a correspondent who had taken pictures of the protests, AFP reports. Two agents from the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), one of them wielding a pistol, seized Talal Saad, a Sudanese journalist working also for Al Tayar newspaper. The security claimed he would come back in two hours. The raid took place shortly after Saad arrived at the AFP office with pictures he had taken of an anti-regime protest in Omdurman. The NISS refused to let the AFP staff correspondent make a telephone call, and threatened to seize every computer in the bureau unless the pictures were deleted. AFP complied with the request. Saad is a Sudanese journalist with the local newspaper Al Tayar. AFP correspondent Simon Martelli was arrested a week earlier. He was kept in custody for more than 12 hours without charge after he talked to students and took pictures at the University of Khartoum. An Egyptian correspondent for international news wire Bloomberg, Salma El Wardany, was deported from Sudan on Tuesday, after trying to cover the country's widening protest movement. Several website are no longer accessible. The internet access in Khartoum was very slow during the Friday, few were able to Twitter during the day, but Facebook was accessible. An eyewitness tells Radio Dabanga government security forces arrested also the journalist Anwar 'Ouwad Assamani in Omdurman.