Sudan protesters hold night gatherings to rekindle movement

Grappling with a power outage, blocked internet access and heightened security, people from the Jabra district had few means to organise the meeting which drew dozens from the neighbourhood.

Within a few hours, power generators were fetched, loud speakers set up, plastic chairs lined up and cars blazed their headlights on the podium where protest leaders were to give their speech.

Roadblocks were also set up to secure the entrances of the area.

“The campaign keeps us updated with whatever new is happening about the situation in Sudan,” said Mujahed Abdelnaby who was attending the gathering.

Sudan’s ruling generals have largely cut internet services in the wake of a deadly dispersal of a sit-in outside the army headquarters where thousands had been camped since April 6.

The crowds who were initially demanding the ouster of veteran leader Omar al-Bashir stayed put after his fall to call on the generals who took over to hand power to civilians.

But on June 3 armed men in military fatigues launched a bloody crackdown on the encampment, killing more than 100 people according to medics linked to protesters. Official figures stand at 61.

Since then campaigning has been restricted, particularly with increased deployment of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces across Khartoum.

The forces, which are led by the deputy chief of Sudan’s transitional military council, are accused by protesters of leading the encampment’s dispersal.

The council, which had previously vowed not to disperse the sit-in, denied ordering the violence and said it had only planned a purge of a nearby area called Colombia notorious for drug peddling.

Last week, protest leaders from the Alliance for Freedom and Change started organising daily simultaneous gatherings to revive the protest movement.

“We just want to keep the communication going with the people to confront the blackout imposed by the military council,” said Waheeb Mohamed Saeed, a leading activist within the alliance.

Ahead of his speech at Jabra, he explained the campaigns are circulated via text messages and word of mouth among residents. Demonstrators, meanwhile, started chanting to rhythmical beats their catchcry of “freedom, peace and justice”

“We will bring civilian rule no matter how long it takes,” they vowed.

Similar rallies, gatherings and marches were regularly announced online, drawing thousands prior to the sweeping internet blackout.

“We have been calling for the resumption of internet services as part of conditions to restart negotiations,” Saeed said. Talks between protest leaders and the military council had collapsed before the dispersal of the sit-in. Both sides recently agreed to mediation efforts led by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Protest leaders say the mediation is pegged on releasing all detainees and ensuring freedoms.But the military council’s chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan called for “unconditional” negotiations to be resumed. “If all fails, we will press ahead with peaceful forms of escalation including civil disobedience,” Saeed said.

Following the sit-in dispersal, businesses across Sudan were shut and residents stayed indoors after protest leaders called for a nationwide general strike. Last week, hundreds of protesters took to the streets reviving calls for civilian rule across several Sudanese states including the capital’s twin city Omdurman. Dozens of employees from private companies and ministries, including oil and information, held silent demonstrations outside their offices in Khartoum.

For Lamia Babiker, who was attending the Jabra gathering, the deadly dispersal of the sit-in only rekindled the protest spirit.

“Now people can tell what’s right and what’s wrong,” she said.

“People from several districts were killed and others have been missing since the dispersal. We are no longer scared.”

AFP.

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Kirsten: Let’s be realistic about Proteas’ campaign

World Cup-winning coach and former Proteas batsman Gary Kirsten has described South Africa’s previous record of disaster at the tournament as being like a “mist” that has a ripple effect from team to team through the years.

Kirsten, who led India to a long-awaited World Cup triumph, on home soil, under immense pressure of expectation, in 2011, added he did not have any answers for what is surely a mental block for South African teams at the tournament.

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“The World Cup comes around and it’s like a mist comes in and envelops our players. But we’ve exhausted the mental conversation, nobody knows why it keeps happening. They are all giving their best, so what are the answers? I don’t know the answers. With India it was a different vibe because they don’t have that mist of having underperformed at World Cups.

“For that team, there was no pressure from previous World Cups, nobody spoke about it and it wasn’t an issue. The only thing that will turn it around in World Cups for South Africa is to literally just turn it around at a tournament somewhere down the line. But no-one seems to know the answers in terms of how to do that,” Kirsten, whose triumph with India turned him into a national hero and elevated him to the status of one of the world’s leading coaches, said.

Kirsten, who was a top-order batsman for South Africa in the 1996, 1999 and 2003 World Cups, said the current Proteas were suffering the effect of inconsistent batting.

“We need to be realistic, when the team left South Africa it was with only a bit of hope of winning the tournament. I had a sense that the batting was a bit inconsistent, I think the pitches back home can play a role, they’ve been very up-and-down and that could have an effect on the consistency of the batsmen. We were always a bit light on the batting front, AB de Villiers would have made a big difference at four.

“But I was very excited about the bowling and I think they have bowled well, especially against New Zealand in what was a tough game. But we need to be honest, at this World Cup, we would not have been surprised beforehand if they did not make the playoffs. What’s been different is that they haven’t played well from the start. But I feel for everyone, I know the effort has been there. But that’s sport and sometimes there are teams whose performance you just can’t understand,” Kirsten said.

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Limpopo police arrest two alleged livestock thieves

Police in Bolobedu outside Tzaneen have arrested two men, aged 29 and 41, in connection with the theft of livestock in the area, Limpopo police said on Saturday.

The men were stopped while travelling in a bakkie loaded with the carcasses of five cattle at Shawela village, Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said.

“During the arrest, two suspects managed to run away, but they were identified. The driver and owner of the vehicle were apprehended on the spot.”

The preliminary police investigations led to them to the owners of the cattle who subsequently identified their cattle through brand marks. The suspects would appear in the Bolobedu Magistrate’s Court soon. The police search for the remaining two suspects was still under way and investigations were continuing, Ngoepe said.

Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of these suspects should contact the crime stop number 08600-10111 or the nearest police station.

– African News Agency

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Free Fishing Derby for Kids!

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Click now to learn how your kids can learn to fish and get a free fishing pole next week.

The event will be hosted by the Ray Park Foundation.

For more information, click here.