Leave our graffiti on the walls, say Sudan protesters

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In this file photo taken on April 20, 2019, a Sudanese protestor sits on a wall covered in graffitti during a protest outside the army complex in the capital Khartoum on April 20, 2019. (AFP)
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In this file photo taken on April 24, 2019, Sudanese protesters sit in front of a recently painted mural during a demonstration near the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum. (AFP)
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In this file photo taken on April 18, 2019 a Sudanese protestor paints a graffiti during a protest outside the army complex in the capital Khartoum. (AFP)
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In this file photo taken on July 21, 2019 Sudanese activist Eythar Gubara (L), walks in front of a mural painting of Mohamed Mattar, on the wall of a youth club in Bahri in the capital Khartoum's northern district. (AFP)
Updated 14 August 2019

Leave our graffiti on the walls, say Sudan protesters

  • In recent days some of the colorful murals and slogans that appeared on the walls of the capital were painted over

KHARTOUM: The graffiti that symbolized Sudan’s uprising are being painted over across the capital Khartoum, protest leaders complained Wednesday, urging the military authorities to stop their whitewashing.
The Alliance for Freedom and Change that led the months-long protest movement that brought down longtime ruler Omar Al-Bashir said the “enemies of the revolution” had been systematically erasing murals.
“We see this as an ugly act and a pathetic attempt to suppress the beauty, the letter and the spirit of the revolution,” it said a statement.
In recent days some of the colorful murals and slogans that appeared on the walls of the capital during the early stages of the protest that ousted Omar Al-Bashir were painted over.
Together with music, these murals had become a symbol of the popular nature of an uprising that was led by young activists rather than engineered by political opposition.
Most of the murals and graffiti could be found on walls outside of the army headquarters in Khartoum, where protesters camped out for weeks on end.
“This is an absurd measure and shows the inability of the enemies of the revolution to recognize its roots and its realization in people’s hearts,” the statement said.
It called on graffiti artists to “continue painting murals and exercise all their freedom of expression rights.”
A mass protest this spring led to the ouster of Omar Al-Bashir, an Islamist general who had ruled Sudan since 1989.
Continued mobilization and a deadly crackdown on a sit-in on June 3 led to a phase of negotiations that yielded a transition agreement to be officially signed on Saturday.
The deal agreed by Sudan’s generals and protest leaders provides for a power-sharing period of 39 months meant to pave the way for elections and civilian rule.
Some members of the protest camp however were displeased with an agreement they fear could allow those forces accused of brutal repression during the uprising to maintain their grip on power.
One graffiti artist contacted by AFP said that the decision to remove murals from Khartoum’s walls was evidence that the military establishment was reverting to its old ways.
“When I saw this I felt very disappointed because when we did these murals we were expressing the feeling that the times were changing,” Lotfy Abdel Fattah said.
“And now the signals we are getting tell us that there is no real change, no real freedom,” he said.
Speaking to AFP at the height of the protests in April, he had predicted that the murals might not all stay forever but he argued now that they should remain as a testament to a pivotal moment in Sudan’s history.
Some of the murals also honor protesters who were killed by security forces.
“I don’t know exactly who is doing this but it’s definitely someone with an agenda against change, because what we did was a beautiful thing,” Abdel Fattah said.


3 Turkish soldiers killed in clash with Kurdish militants in Iraq

Updated 2 min 19 sec ago

3 Turkish soldiers killed in clash with Kurdish militants in Iraq

  • The conflict has claimed more than 40,000 lives since the PKK took up arms in 1984

ANKARA, ISTANBUL: Three Turkish soldiers were killed and seven were wounded in a clash with Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

The statement came after Turkey on Friday launched the third phase of an operation begun in May to root out fighters of the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK (PKK), in the region. It did not specify the location of the clashes.

Turkey launched the “Claw” operation in May into mountainous northern Iraq against the PKK. The operation involved conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign against the PKK in the region.

The offensive entered its third phase on Friday, in which troops aim to destroy PKK caves and shelters in the Sinat-Haftanin region. The conflict has claimed more than 40,000 lives since the PKK took up arms in 1984.

The PKK began an insurgency against Turkey in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast in 1984, and the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people. Turkey, the US and the EU consider the group, based in the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq, a terror organization.

Daesh attack kills 6

Separately, Daesh militants have fired mortar rounds at a soccer field near a religious site, killing six civilians and wounding nine others, according to police in Iraq.

The attack occurred late on Saturday in the village of Daquq, in Iraq’s northern Kirkuk province, as people were exercising.

Police officials confirmed the attack, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

The area of the attack, southeast of the city of Kirkuk, is controlled by Iran-supported militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.

Daesh, which once ruled a self-styled proto-state sprawling across Iraq and Syria, no longer controls territory in either country but has continued to stage sporadic attacks.