Ecstatic Sudanese demonstrators gather in a street in central Khartoum on April 11. (Photo by Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)

Sudanese Protestors Establish ‘Socialist State’ Outside Army Headquarters

Asharq Al-Awsat, London, April 11

Sudanese have created a “small state” in front of army headquarters, were they have been… demanding that President Omar Al-Bashir step down with his government as soon as possible. They have declared a small “socialist” entity providing food, air conditioners, entertainment, music, singing and even an allowance for transportation in an attempt to protect the crowds and help them keep the protests going.

This mini-state has also established security forces from among the protesters to search people entering the square in order to ensure that they are not carrying any objects that can be used as weapons, and to preserve the peace.

Sudanese from all around the world have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the small state, which has made the Sudanese authorities confused as to where this funding is coming from. The authorities have called it “traitor money,” and the protest leaders have been mocking the government’s claims.

According to press reports, Sudanese expats, businessmen and wealthy people have donated generously to the protesters. A source says that Sudanese immigrants living in a small [unnamed] city in the United States quickly collected over $30,000, and hundreds of thousands [of dollars] more have come from Sudanese living in Gulf states and Europe.

The army headquarters and surrounding area have turned into a venue in which Sudanese citizens are reclaiming values they consider to be part of their national character and which have been negatively affected by the rule of the “Islamic regime” for 30 years.

Protesters, mostly men and women under 30, have refused to accept anything other than their main demand [that Bashir step down].

The “small state” is on Al Jaysh Street, a place where protesters can find all services, with activists working on maintaining a peaceful revolution.

A protestor says he encountered more than one checkpoint before being allowed to enter the square.

“They are inspecting in a beautiful way to ensure that you are not there to disrupt, and to maintain a peaceful revolution,” the protester said.

According to monitoring by Asharq Al-Awsat, over the days of protest, weapons are piling up, having been willingly handed over at the request of inspection groups.
Faced with the heat of Khartoum (42-45 Celsius), some protesters have been using electric fans and water spray aimed at the heads of passing protesters….

Since the protests began, some people have assigned themselves the task of throwing tear gas canisters back at security men or pouring water on the canisters so the gas will not reach the protesters.

The protesters have reclaimed social-oriented behaviors they say had been affected by the Islamic regime, and are ready to help the needy. Anywhere one turns at the protest, there are boxes with signs saying “Can you donate? If not, take what you need….”

The protest has revived values many thought had disappeared during the 30 years of Bashir’s rule.

One person, Amal Ali, posted on Facebook: “I said that if the government changes, it won’t change what people have been raised on…. But the revolution came like rain, washing all the dirt away to rescue and restore us to each other, back to our patriotism and our pride in our country and ourselves.” – Ahmad Younis and Mustafa Seri

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