KHARTOUM: Around half the Khartoum protesters are reportedly women, including Alaa Saleh, 22, who is regarded as the symbol of the revolution that has ousted Omar Bashir from power after 30 years in power.
The Sudanese woman who became an emblem of the uprising against the rule of Bashir has said women are likely to play the decisive role in the outcome of the country’s protest movement.
Alaa Saleh, a 22 year old architecture student, shot to fame when she was photographed standing on a car in a long white dress and addressing a vast crowd of demonstrators earlier this week.
“Sudanese women have always participated in revolutions in this country. If you see Sudan’s history, all our queens have led the state. It’s part of our heritage,” she said today.
“I’m very proud to take part in this revolution and I hope our revolution will achieve its goal,” Ms Saleh told the AFP.
Meanwhile Lana Haroun, the woman who took the viral photograph, said she was “proud to be one of the people trying to make Sudanese history” and called on people to share as many images from the protests as possible.
Women have played a prominent role in a sit-in protest in central Khartoum that entered its fifth day on Wednesday, with some estimates saying they make up more than half the crowd.
Tens of thousands of protesters, who are calling for Mr Bashir to resign and for a new transitional government to be formed, have defied several attempts by the country’s security service and riot police to disperse them with tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds.
The country’s information minister said today that eleven people were killed during security incidents in the capital Khartoum on Tuesday, when soldiers inside the base exchanged fire with the National Intelligence and Security Service who tried to clear the crowd.
He said the casualties included six members of “state forces”, but did not specify whether they were from the Army or NIISA.
No new clashes were reported on Wednesday, but Sudanese soldiers increased their presence at the demonstration site outside the base, apparently in response to a leaked video that showed the leader of a pro-government militia suggesting dispersing the demonstration by force.
Witnesses say that situation in Khartoum is “calm but nervous,” with rumours about the government’s next move, though some people are worried the Army will take over state house.
Pro-government officials called for a “million person” counter demonstration in another part of the city on Thursday, forcing Bashir out of office, with reports saying he likely to seek asylum in Saudi Arabia.