Protesters in Sudan are holding a “day of disobedience”. What is it and why are they protesting? BBC World Service Africa Editor James Copnall explains.
Instead of taking to the streets or marching towards a ministry or the presidential palace to express their concerns, as they have done in the past, Sudanese protesters are doing something much simpler – staying at home.
Some students have not gone to their school or university; workers have not turned up at the office; even some government employees have not shown up for work. This tactic of “civil disobedience” has been tried before – in November the protesters held a three day “stay-at-home” strike.
Activists tweeted photos of empty streets and offices, particularly on the first couple of days. By day three, most people were back at work. But the protest was considered to be so successful that the “day of disobedience” is being repeated.
However, it appears as though fewer people are heeding the call to stay at home this time.
You can follow on social media with hashtags like #SudanCivilDisobedience and #Dec19Disobedience.
The trigger for these protests came last month when the Sudanese government imposed a fresh round of austerity measures – at a time when the economy is doing so badly that many Sudanese are struggling to make ends meet.
The rise in petrol and diesel prices led to an increase in the cost of many basic goods, including medicines. The government eventually backtracked on medicines, because the suffering of sick people struggling to afford the drugs they needed provoked such anger.
For many – but by no means all – of the protesters, another motivation is dislike of President Omar al-Bashir and his government.
Since Mr. Bashir seized power in a coup in 1989, Sudan has not known a day of peace and civil wars continue in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
This is a very interesting question and one which nobody seems to have an answer for. The initial call to stay at home came on social media, but no organisation or group has said it was responsible.