Sweets and Tear Gas

From Sudan, an intriguing study in contrasts. On the one hand, we have a manufactured anti-US and UN protest at the prospect of international intervention to stop the Sudanese government’s campaign of massacre in Darfur. (It should be noted though that, however orchestrated, the government can still produce a sizable and no doubt genuinely enraged cacophony – never forget that tyrants have constituents.) The placards proclaiming the protesters desire for “peace” (above) are particularly and grimly ironic. On Monday, Amnesty International reported an ominous new build-up of Sudanese military forces in Darfur.

On the other hand, we have what appears to be an actual grassroots opposition rally protesting rising sugar and gas prices, that attempted to demonstrate at the same time nearby. “The oil we have goes straight into the government’s pockets and not to the people. People need democracy – this is just the beginning,” protester Sarah Lugdallah told Reuters. The Sudanese authorities proceeded to savagely disperse the rally, beating journalists and firing canisters of tear gas as banner-clutching demonstrators fled baton-wielding riot police. The anti-UN rally went on unharassed. “They give out sweets at one protest and tear gas bombs at the other,” said one Sudanese bystander.

Explore posts in the same categories: Darfur, Intervention

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