Still image taken from video uploaded by rasd Sudan on YouTube
By Jeya Lorenz and Madeleine Bair
The Human Rights Channel is following events as they unfold in Sudan. Here we discuss a few videos from our ongoing playlist “Sudan Revolts.”
A Man Lays Bleeding as Khartoum Erupts with Protests
This video has been one of the most widely circulated of those to emerge from Sudan’s recent popular uprising, and it’s clear why. In under a minute, it dramatically captures the violence protesters have encountered in rallies that began in late September and spread throughout the country, sparked by the government’s announcement it would lift fuel subsidies, thus causing a rapid spike in the cost of living across Sudanese society. The cameraman rushes to a protester laying on the ground, his bleached button-down shirt saturated with blood, as a clutch of men try to slap him to consciousness.
Human Rights Violations
In contrast to the uprising over austerity measures in Sudan last summer, the current protests are comprised of members from across diverse sectors of Sudanese society, and the government has responded more brutally than before. Activists counted 170 killed in the protests in the first week of the uprising. That week also saw a mass arrest of 800 people, a shutdown of the Internet, and redoubled repression of the news media. Civil society groups are calling on the African Union and the UN to investigate allegations of serious human rights violations. “The majority of deaths,” assert two Sudanese human rights organizations in a statement, “resulted from bullet wounds to the upper torso and head.” This video appears to corroborate documented use of live ammunition against protesters, though it leaves unanswered many questions about the circumstances of the man’s injury.
Behind the Camera
The uploader of this video has aggregated several videos of the protests, but it is not the only version of this video on YouTube. In fact, like many of the videos from Sudan right now, the original upload appears to be on Facebook. In this case, it was published by a Khartoum-based school teacher who has continued to post regular updates about the protests and activists wounded, killed, and imprisoned in the uprising.
Sudan is a dangerous place for protesters and those who document civil society movements. One local journalist who has been featured on the Human Rights Channel was detained last year while filming a small protest in Khartoum. The current movement, however, perhaps emboldened by massive participation, appears to be less cautious about known risks of filming, and until Bashir’s government cracked down on the protests in the first week of October, several videos of protests emerged on social media. In this video, for instance, demonstrators chant, “We’ve come out against the people who stole the country.” The Human Rights Channel will continue to update our Sudan Revolts YouTube playlist as we are able to source and verify more videos of the movement.