Social media goes blue for Sudan
21 June 2019
#BlueForSudan artwork by Roiya Khaled Abu Zied, used with her permission.
Since April's military ouster of President Omar Al-Bashir after 30 years in power, pro-democracy protesters’ attempts to negotiate a transition to civilian rule with Sudan's Transitional Military Council (TMC) have faltered, stalled and then broken down.
On June 3, Sudan's Rapid Support Forces (RSF) launched a brutal attack on peaceful protesters in Khartoum, the capital. The RSF is made up of veteran militia members of the notorious “Janjaweed,” a paramilitary group operated by the government under Bashir that carried out genocide in Darfur.
The two-day crackdown in front of military headquarters in Khartoum left 112 people dead and more than 700 injured. Among them were 12 children. Doctors say up to 70 people were raped during the attack. The dead were thrown into the Nile from the Blue Nile Bridge during the night, according to multiple reports. Exact numbers are difficult to verify due to a lack of cohesive cooperation with authorities.
Mohammad Mattar, 26, is just one of many protesters shot and killed by the RSF during the sit-in. He had traveled home to Khartoum from London, where he had graduated as an engineer. He was shot while protecting two women during the protests, according to various reports circulating on social media.
To cope with their grief, Mattar's friends began a social media campaign asking people to change their profile pictures to shades of blue in solidarity with protesters’ pro-democracy struggle. They say Mattar's favorite color was blue and it was the color he had on his profile pictures the day he died.
And a “blue wave” has washed over social media platforms. The color blue has come to symbolizes all who have lost their lives during the uprising.