MEMBERS of Letterkenny’s Sudanese community will gather this weekend in protest at the actions of their government back home.
There is growing unrest in the north east African country and dozens of people have lost their lives in recent days during anti-government demonstrations.
The Sudanese government has put the death toll at 19 but Amnesty International estimates the number to at least twice that figure.
The rumblings of a revolution erupted last month when the government raised the price of a small loaf of bread from one Sudanese pound to three – from about two cents to six cents. The demonstrations quickly spread into large anti-government rallies.
Some analysts have compared the protests to the beginning of the Arab Spring movement, viewing them as the biggest threat to President Omar al-Bashir’s iron-fisted rule since he swept to power in a 1989 coup.
President al-Bashir has said he will not bow to calls for him to resign.
In a letter sent to a number of TDs and the Department of Foreign Affairs, members of the Sudanese community in Ireland have criticised the Sudanese government as well as the international reaction to the violence.
The letter calls on the Irish government to condemn the Sudanese government’s “disproportionate and deadly response” to the protests and to “reconsider its relationship” with al-Bashir’s regime.
It states that the protests are “in response to the ever-growing lack of access to needs as basic as bread, fuel and access to funds”. Limitations have been placed on how much money people can withdraw from banks as the government attempts to halt growing inflation.
There are around 30 Sudanese families living in Letterkenny and this Saturday they will gather at the Station Roundabout in support of the anti-government rallies. Similar events have taken place in other parts of Ireland in recent days.
Thoiba Ahmed has lived in Letterkenny for four years and was involved in protests against al-Bashir’s government when she lived in her native Sudan.
“There are a lot of people suffering back home, suffering from hunger, suffering because they can’t access fuel and in many cases, they can’t even access their own money.
“Take for example the price of a loaf of bread. It has trebled in recent times from the equivalent of two cents to six cents. That is a lot when you consider that that average income in Sudan is around €845 per year.
“The current revolution is not just about food and money though. It is also about dignity, freedom, justice and equality.
“So this Saturday we are coming out to support and show solidarity and we are telling the government that it is time to go. Thirty years the government has been in place and during those years officials have grown richer and richer. Enough is enough and we would love people to join us this Saturday in sending that message back home to President al-Bashir,” Ms Ahmed said.
Saturday’s protest at the Station Roundabout takes place from 1pm.