Sudanese Women Transform Facebook Group from Gossip to Naming and Shaming Violent Police Officers

Published February 17th, 2019 - 02:38 GMT
Sudanese went to streets on December 19, 2018 to demand their long-ruling president, Omar Bashir to step down. (FilePhoto/AFP)
Sudanese went to streets on December 19, 2018 to demand their long-ruling president, Omar Bashir to step down. (FilePhoto/AFP)

Massive anti-government protests in Sudan will be entering their third month soon and Sudanese have been finding ways to connect with each other despite the government’s ban on most social media platforms.

At least 30 people have been killed in protests, around 80 journalists have been reportedly arrested, let alone other activists, protesters and opposition leaders. However, protests are on the rise and not seeing any near end without long-ruling president Omar Bashir complying to the protesters' demands and stepping down.

Meanwhile, Sudanese women took to a female-only Facebook groups to circulate photos of security forces members who abuse their power and beat protesters, so that they would become recognized.

The group that was first launched in 2015 to be a place of gossip about crushes, beauty tips and relationship advice has transformed into a platform where Sudanese women share helpful information and photos of abusive police or security officers. At times abuse officers have been beaten up and sometimes even chased by people in their own neighborhoods.

As a result of technology, women in Sudan who do not have much of choice due to morality police authorities who prevent them from gathering in public have found their own way of joining with anti-government protests.

The story of “Minbar Chat” [Chat Platform] was first reported by mainstream media outlets like Al Jazeera English and Buzzfeed News, and did not take too long to go viral.

It was also described by Sudanese as one of the strongest “intelligence groups” assisting the Sudanese in their revolution against the current regime.

The group’s owner, Rania Omar, who is currently not resident in Sudan, has also confirmed that she was contacted by some Sudanese security officer who asked her to stay away from politics and change the group’s aim.

Meanwhile, “Minbar Chat” does not seem to be the only Facebook group that follows the same path.

Though social media is only accessible through virtual private networks (VPNs), Sudanese still insist on reaching to the world through it and share updates on their revolution against the authoritarian government that has ruled the country for decades now.

This comes also as a response to the Sudanese President Omar Bashir’s earlier remarks that people can not change their government with Facebook or WhatsApp, yet Sudanese are beginning to prove him wrong.

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