Sudanese woman in iconic protest image reports getting death threats

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Alaa Salah propelled to internet fame earlier this week after leading powerful protest chants against President Omar Al-Bashir. (File photo/AFP)
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Updated 12 April 2019
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Sudanese woman in iconic protest image reports getting death threats

  • Salah propelled to internet fame earlier this week after clips went viral of her leading powerful protest chants against Al-Bashir
  • The 'Nubian queen' has become a symbol of the protests which she says have traditionally had a female backbone in Sudan

NEW YORK: A woman who has come to symbolize protests in Sudan after being photographed chanting atop a car during protests against President Omar Al-Bashir said on Thursday she had received death threats since her image went viral.
Clad in white, Alaa Salah can be seen poised above the crowds in Khartoum, where demonstrators gathered to demand the military hand over power to civilians.
The ouster on Thursday of Bashir, 75, followed months of protests against his rule.
“I wanted to get on the car and speak to the people,” according to a post on a Twitter account for Salah, 22, an engineering and architecture student at Sudan International University.


“We need international support, for people to be aware of what’s happening and to understand our demands.”
The post praised the role of Sudanese women, many of whom have taken to the streets in protest.
Figures from the World Bank show that less than half of women finish secondary school in Sudan where female life expectancy is about 66 years old.
“You cannot have a revolution without women. You cannot have democracy without women,” read the tweet. “We believed we could, so we did.”

Dubbed online as "Kandaka", or Nubian queen, she has become a symbol of the protests which she says have traditionally had a female backbone in Sudan. (File photo/AFP)

Calling herself “very proud to take part in this revolution,” Salah said her life has been threatened since her picture and video went viral on social media.
“I will not bow down. My voice can not be suppressed,” according to a tweet on her account, adding that she would hold Bashir responsible “if anything happens to me.”
The Thomson Reuters Foundation could not reach Salah for comment or verify that she wrote the tweets herself on her account rather than representatives.
Bashir has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague and faces an arrest warrant over allegations of genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region during an insurgency that began in 2003 and led to the death of an estimated 300,000 people. He denies the allegations.

 


Migrants stranded at sea for three weeks face deportation

Updated 35 min 6 sec ago
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Migrants stranded at sea for three weeks face deportation

  • Vessel carrying 75 illegal refugees, including 32 children, remained stranded 25 km off Tunisia

TUNIS: Tunisia has allowed dozens of migrants, mostly from Bangladesh, to disembark after three weeks stranded in the Mediterranean, so that they can return to their home countries, the Red Crescent said on Wednesday.

An Egyptian boat rescued at least 75 migrants in Tunisian waters last month. But local authorities in the governorate of Medinine said its migrant centers were too overcrowded to let them ashore, leaving the vessel stranded 25 km off the coastal city of Zarzis.

“After they were stranded for three weeks at sea in difficult conditions, Tunisia agreed to dock the ship, and migrants accepted to return to their countries in coming days,” Red Crescent official Mongi Slim told Reuters.

After a visit by officials from Bangladesh Embassy, the migrants agreed to return home, according to Mongi Slim, a Red Crescent official.

Earlier, Red Crescent representatives welcomed to port 64 Bangladeshis, nine Egyptians, a Moroccan, a Sudanese citizen, who left Zuwara in Libya in late May.

The migrants, which include at least 32 children and unaccompanied minors, are to be transferred to a reception center in Sfax from where they are set to return home, Slim added.

Worried about creating a precedent, Tunisian authorities said they accepted the migrants as an exception and for “humanitarian” reasons.

“We thank Tunisia’s renewed commitment to life and dignity,” said Lorena Lando, the head of the International Organization for Migration in Tunisia.

She added that it is urgent to put in place a collaborative approach to helping migrants in the Mediterranean.

Neighboring Libya’s west coast is a frequent departure point for African migrants hoping to reach Europe by paying human traffickers. But their numbers have dropped after an Italian-led effort to disrupt smuggling networks and support the Libyan coast guard.

At least 65 migrants drowned last month when their boat capsized off Tunisia after setting out from Libya.

In the first four months of 2019, 164 people are known to have died on the route, a smaller number but a higher death rate than in previous years, with one dying for every three who reach European shores, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said.