From the photojournalist’s point of view: A North African government crackdown turns to chaos

When they turned back from their highway stop, two soldiers rushed toward a group of unarmed protesters, called out to each of them with a harsh yell, and grabbed them, according to Eyad Badawi,…

From the photojournalist’s point of view: A North African government crackdown turns to chaos

When they turned back from their highway stop, two soldiers rushed toward a group of unarmed protesters, called out to each of them with a harsh yell, and grabbed them, according to Eyad Badawi, a translator with a U.N. agency. “I do not know who else was hit,” he said. “I just saw the blood and the dirt. They had beaten them and cursed them and left them.”

It was the last protest they would attend on the afternoon of Dec. 19, as they moved out of downtown Khartoum. But by Dec. 20 — a day when Islamic State fighters turned their knives on civilians in the east — their quiet shifts at their posts on the Egyptian border turned to chaos. Over the next few days, millions of Sudanese took to the streets, demanding an end to President Omar al-Bashir’s rule. Images of young men in military uniforms, their gas masks fluttering in the wind and bombs falling on protesters, circulated around the world.

The short version of what unfolded in the days that followed is as follows: The military escalated its crackdown on protesters over the course of that first week. On Dec. 20, commandos fired on demonstrators and detained scores of them. On Dec. 21, authorities announced a curfew and ordered police to clamp down on protesters. On Dec. 22, officers attacked a demonstration, killing four people. On Dec. 23, police and soldiers at the street level attacked demonstrators again, killing at least three. Later that day, the Supreme Court issued a decision that dissolved parliament and the government, paving the way for Bashir to declare a 30-day state of emergency and dismiss the previous government. By Dec. 27, the crackdown had escalated even further, with soldiers assaulting demonstrators.

Read the full story at The Atlantic

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