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Sudan: “Police Denies Use of Bullets; All Injuries are Imaginary”

Sudanese officials are repeating the all too familiar ‘lies’ Arab officials have been telling us since the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring in December 2010. Protests are contained, they say, in citizens attacking policemen, who retaliate in self-defense, goes the story.

Sudan is the latest country to join the massive protest movement that saw the toppling of Zine Al Abedine Ben Ali of Tunisia in January 2011 and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt the following month. Libya's Muammar Gaddafi was also captured and later on killed by an angry mob in October 2011. Arab governments are keen in limiting their loss to those three dictators by conducting a massive crackdown on political dissent and an unprecedented killing spree against their revolting people. Sudanese officials are now repeating the same lines we heard from all Arab officials, whose reigns are troubled by angry people they have continued to rule with an iron fist and oppress for decades.

Protests broke out at Khartoum University on June 17, when hundreds of students denounced the government’s planned austerity measures. The protests were met with police brutality and arrests, fueling more anger and protests the following days.

Mimz reacts to how the official Sudanese News Agency (SUNA) covered the news. She tweets:

@MimzicalMimz: SUNA says protests yesterday were ‘limited'. Just the fact that protests were acknowledged conveys the magnitude of #SudanRevolts

Egyptian journalist Salma Elwardany, who is in Khartoum, sums up the coverage. She writes [ar]:

ملخص تغطية وكالة الانباء الرسمية لمظاهرات امس: مواطنين اعتدوا على الشرطة فاضطروها لاستخدام الغاز المسيل للدموع ‎http://suna-sd.net/suna/showNews/-fJi7HGycvs26Azq7aG4mmjptp-NQZ_WndSuVb1-KMY/1‏ ‎‫#الخراء‬‏
@S_Elwardany: A summary of SUNA's official coverage of the news yesterday: citizens attacked the police, who were forced to use tear gas

She quotes the coverage saying:

وتهيب الشرطة بالمواطنين “عدم الالتفات للشائعات التي تؤدى لزعزعة الامن وتعريض الممتلكات للخطر والتعاون مع الشرطة في أداء واجباتها” ‎‫#السودان‬‏
@S_Elwardany: The Police call upon citizens not to pay attention to rumours aimed at destabilizing security and the destruction of property. It also calls on citizens to cooperate with the police in carrying out their duties

And she adds:

لشرطة تنفي في بيانها ليلة امس استخدام الرصاص المطاطي او الحي, صح الاصابات امبارح كانت من وحي خيال المواطن ‎‫#السودان_ينتفض‬‏
@S_Elwardany: The police denies in its statement last night the use of rubber or live bullets. Right! The injuries last night were a figment of our imagination

Yousif Elmahdi confirms:

@Usiful_ME: Then, i must have imagined being close by guy being shot in leg by rubber bullet & another thrown off moving pick-up

Netizens are now watching Sudan closely, following rumours that the Sudanese authorities intend to cut off the Internet – a chilling reminder of Egypt's attempt to silence activists and contain the January 25 revolution when it pulled the plug off the www on January 27.

The US Embassy in Khartoum Twitter account stated today:

@USembassykrt: Internet access and possibly cell phones may be disrupted or limited in Sudan due to the protests and demonstrations in the capital city.

The internet and the rise of social media, and not dictatorship, injustice and lack of human rights, are blamed for fueling the Arab Spring.

Meanwhile, Arab regimes seem to be immune to learning from experience.

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