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.


Erdogan hit by more arms bans as pressure grows over Syria invasion

Updated 17 min 11 sec ago

Erdogan hit by more arms bans as pressure grows over Syria invasion

  • United States threatens more sanctions
  • Britain, Spain and Sweden joined Germany and France in suspending military exports

ANKARA: Three more countries halted arms sales to Turkey on Tuesday as pressure mounted on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the Turkish invasion of northeast Syria.

Britain, Spain and Sweden joined Germany and France in suspending military exports, and the US threatened Ankara with more sanctions unless Erdogan halts the offensive.

“We will keep our defense exports to Turkey under very careful and continual review,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said. “No further export licenses to Turkey for items which might be used in military operations in Syria will be granted while we conduct that review.”

Spain, a major arms exporter to Turkey, urged Erdogan to “put an end to this military operation” because it endangered regional stability, increased the number of refugees and threatened Syria’s territorial integrity.

“In coordination with its EU partners, Spain will deny new export licenses for military equipment that can be used in the operation in Syria,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Sweden also halted exports of military combat equipment. “Two permits that have been active have now been recalled,” it said.

BACKGROUND

Vice President Mike Pence will hold talks with Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday, and the UN Security Council will discuss the invasion.

Erdogan’s assault against Kurdish forces, launched last week, has prompted a chorus of international condemnation. “Many NATO allies are very critical and are condemning the military operation in northern Syria,” said Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of NATO, the Western military alliance of which Turkey is a member.

Russia’s presidential envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, said Turkey had no right to deploy its forces in Syria permanently, and Moscow had not approved the operation.

US President Donald Trump imposed new sanctions on Turkey on Monday, and on Tuesday the US said more sanctions would follow unless the invasion was halted.

“The plan is to continue the pressure on Turkey as we evaluate our chances to return the relationship to normal, a major element of that return to normal would be a cease-fire,” a senior administration official said. “And by cease-fire what I mean is forces on the ground stop moving on the ground.”

Vice President Mike Pence will hold talks with Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday, and the UN Security Council will discuss the invasion.