After four months of protest, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has finally resigned and the army will oversee a two-year transition period followed by elections. The Iconic lady Alaa Salah and others behind this Sudan Uprising
Bashir, who has been ruling the country for 30 years, is currently under house arrest in the presidential palace, said Defense Secretary Awad Ibn Oufs.
Tens of thousands of cheering Sudanese, including women and children, were seen en route to the army headquarters in the capital, waving the national flag, singing and applauding. These women were at the forefront of the problems that saw the end of Bashir’s term.
According to the BBC, around 70% of protesters are women. From the calls for an end to corruption, unemployment, and intimidation of opponents, these women have also demanded the end of sexism that violates their rights.
Women’s rights activists told Euronews that Sudanese women were often confronted with restrictive laws that dictate what they can wear and where they can go. About 15,000 women were sentenced to flogging in 2016, said non-governmental groups in Sudan.
The protests in Sudan started last December as a result of rising prices for bread and fuel. The demonstrations spread rapidly and, inspired by the success of similar demonstrations in Algeria, protesters began to ask Al-Bashir to withdraw.
Bashir, who is wanted by international prosecutors for alleged war crimes in the western region of Darfur, had refused to resign and said his opponents should seek power through the polls.
Media reports show violent actions against demonstrators, but this has not deterred them from their actions. Women, who believe that the Bashir regime is synonymous with all forms of repression, played a central role in these demonstrations, often seen singing and clapping among crowds of men, often in a minority.
One of these brave women was Alaa Salah. The 22-year-old architecture student went viral after a photo of her who was standing on a car and was shared with a raised arm on social media. The photo was taken on Monday evening in the center of Khartoum, amid tens of thousands of people busy on the roads in front of the heavily guarded complex with the military headquarters and other intelligence services.
The photo of the woman in white with gold earrings suddenly became an icon of protest and a symbol of female leadership. “She was trying to give everyone hope and positive energy and she did it,” Lana Haroun, who took the picture told CNN.
“She was representing all Sudanese women and girls and she inspired every woman and girl at the sit-in. She was telling the story of Sudanese women … she was perfect.”
Salah, standing above the crowd, was chanting “My grandmother is a Kandaka!” as the crowd responded with “Revolution!”
“Kandaka” is the title given to the Nubian queens of ancient Sudan and has now become a popular nickname for women protesters. The term suggests a legacy of empowered women who fight hard for their country and their rights, Hind Makki, an interfaith academic, explained on Twitter.
She added that Salaah’s outfit was a “callback to the clothing worn by our mothers & grandmothers in the 60s, 70s, & 80s who dressed like this during while they marched the streets demonstrating against previous military dictatorships.”
Her white robe and gold moon earrings also represented “working women” and “feminine beauty”.
Many were surprised to see a woman come out strongly against a regime that tends to suppress her colleagues, as many others, including Wifag, earlier told the BBC that she was arrested for her involvement in the protest.
But Salah, who said she had received death threats after her picture was shared via social media was not perturbed.
In the following video, she can be seen singing alongside other brave women who thronged the streets to demand the removal of their leader.