At the SDU-UK, we take pride in our democratic and transparency values and endeavour to promote the principles of justice and freedom of speech. The Sudanese revolution was a peaceful civil movement beginning in December 2018 that led to the termination of Sudan dictator Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year rule. In the initial phase of the revolution, the SDU-UK worked closely with professional unions and local resistance committees in Sudan to ensure technical support, medical aid and rehabilitation for injured protestors. Clinical expertise was also shared with the rescue teams, and donations were collected from the Sudanese diaspora in order to provide logistics and emergency medical supplies.
Moreover, we collaborated with a research team from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine by sharing reports on casualties during the demonstrations. This facilitated the publication of a study using capture-recapture analysis to estimate the number of deaths from the beginning of the revolution up to the early days of the sit-in in April that eventually led to al-Bashir being overthrown.
Later in June 2019, the SDU-UK introduced the ‘Silence in Blue’ campaign, targeting the victims of sexual violence and rape during the violent, catastrophic sit-in evacuation on 3 June. The massacre, believed to be perpetrated by the Rapid Support Forces operating under the ruling TMC (Transitional Military Council) at the time, saw more than 120 dead and over 600 injured.
The Silence in Blue initiative called for men and women to come forward and speak out about their experiences, enabling them to overcome the social stigma, cultural shame and fear surrounding the issue of sexual violence. SDU-UK directly engaged and liaised with the teams on the ground and facilitated access to post-exposure prophylaxis for 11 of the victims, as well as emergency contraceptive and gynaecological care for the assaulted women. Recorded psycho-educational counselling messages were also made available despite the great communication challenges faced at the time due to the internet being totally shut down by the TMC immediately after the massacre.
Along the same lines, the SDU-UK – together with volunteers from the Sudanese diaspora and local organisations in the UK – initiated SRA (Sudan Revolution Art) in an attempt to help the Sudanese people mentally defeat the disappointing atmosphere and disparity that accompanied the sit-in evacuation massacre, as well as to promote healing from the resultant psychological trauma. Serving as a memorial campaign for those who were brutally attacked, killed and raped during the sit-in massacre, SRA aims to highlight the non-violent drive of the Sudanese civilians towards democratic change by exposing the unique role of arts in peaceful civil movements. At least eight exhibitions were organised by the SRA team, including an event at the British Parliament.
Resistance amid the 25th October Coup
On 25 October 2021, the Transitional Military Council (TMC) chairman in Sudan unilaterally announced the imposition of martial law and the immediate suspension of the interim constitutional document with the desolation of all levels of the executive power, effectively threatening to end the national and international process and efforts for democratic transition in Sudan, following the glorious peaceful December 2018 uprising.
The SDU-UK vehemently denounced the coup d’état and released several statements condemning the derailing of democratic transition and the brutal crackdown of anti-coup protests that resulted in more than one hundred dead and hundreds more wounded, many of whom suffered serious and disabling injuries and required emergency surgical interventions.
Through our executive committee members, we met with many UK-based institutes and international organisations to throw light on the serious violations committed by the militias operating under the coup authority security, the use of excessive brutal force and the killing of peaceful protesters. We also condemned the unprecedented and outrageous direct attacks by those infamous forces on hospitals.
Additionally, we joined forces with other UK-based Sudanese anti-coup groups culminating in the establishment of the Sudanese Revolutionary Movement in the UK, which is a an alliance that organises protests and campaigns, in London and other UK cities, against the Sudanese military Junta.
At SDU-UK, and in collaboration with professional unions at home and around the world, we stand in complete solidarity with the people of Sudan who continue to pursue their rights for freedom, peace and justice, and who aspire to achieve a true democratic transformation in the country.