al-Bashir softens his stance towards protesters
Publish date: 11 February 2019
Issue Number: 810
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has taken a newly conciliatory tone with protesters, saying they are mostly young with poor prospects, while also pledging to release detained journalists. His remarks appeared to be part of a new strategy to soften the government's stance towards the protests, after the Defence Minister and Prime Minister made similar remarks in recent days. A report on the News24 site notes that Sudan has been gripped by nationwide demonstrations since mid-December, with crowds taking to the streets initially over price increases. The protests quickly escalated into rallies against al-Bashir's three decade rule. ‘Most of the protesters are young and there are factors that drove them to take to the streets, including inflation, which led to higher prices – and the limited job opportunities that don't match the number of graduates,’ Bashir said. He said all journalists who have been jailed in connection with the protests would be released. Activists estimate the number of journalists in prison at 16. al-Bashir also said young people's anger was fuelled by the ‘wrong implementation’ of Sudan's public order laws. His remarks contrast dramatically to previous demands for the ‘rats to go back to their holes’.