Testimony *A Sudanese Female Student protest Leader : The Security forces Unzipped their paints on street to intimidate us

 

It was 6:00PM June 16th, when I and other 6 girls sat down in our very crowded room  in Alzahraa dorms in the Khartoum University compound decided that we have to act and speak out against the unbearable food prices in the dorm and the universities . The dorm we are living in is the  largest girl dorm in Khartoum , it has 18 buildings, contains hundreds of female students from all Universities and from different regions inside Sudan and even abroad . That Saturday we had surprised by the doubled prices for every thing in the dorm from bread to tea and sugar , the 250 pounds bread it raised to be 500 pounds for one bread , that was too much for all the students coming from far states and villages trying to make it by the very little their families are able to send to them every month .

I  and the other 6 girls -whom I can’t mention their names for their safety ,  but I can say that they are from Khartoum ,Sudan, and Alneilain Universities , and they are from various regions in Sudan even from South Sudan- , decided that we should go out and protest against the high prices .  we got out our rooms and then out the dorms chanting ” no for high prices” , and we went out to the street exactly at 7:30PM. When we reached out side the dorm more girls joined the 7 of us , and since the boys dorms just across the street , they joined us too , and we continued chanting and marching for about 10 to 15 minutes , and the boys started chanting ” the people want to overthrow the regime ” , when we found our selves surrounded by the police , as they started chasing us and beating us , we ran back to the dorm , where some girls pushed the door  until it was broken , so we can get inside to protect our selves . But the dorms walls didn’t stop the police , they continued firing the tear gas inside the dorms , and the security men wearing the pail closes came inside the dorm holing metal bars , and beaten the girls inside their rooms and the said to us :” your are just girls far away from you homes living dorms why you are protesting and making problems , you better watch out and stop what we are doing”  .

While we were running back to the dorms the police men were making sexual signs by their bodies to us, and when they came inside the dorm we asked them how you enter here , and why you are inside our rooms , they said that they came because the university security called them and told them that we are protesting against the government .

The pail closes men started to intimidate us , as they told us they will attack us at night , and they told us they will do us”  bad things” , that day we couldn’t sleep from the fear . The next day the students of the Khartoum university , decided to back us on our cause , and condemned the police crackdown into the girls dorms with the security forces , intimidating  female students and firing tear gas inside the dorm . The students took the streets protesting the last night attack on us, the high prices , and demanded the ouster of the regime .

June 17 demonstrations were very strong , me and other girls were filming by our cameras when the police came and starting beating and firing tear gas , we get them back with stones , it was strong battle , between armless students and police armed with tear gas and masks , and the security agents in  the pail closes and students regime supporters, as some of them were not students , whom in the upcoming days we called them ” Rabatta” , they were holding knives and metal bars , and beating and harassing the girls , they were calling the female students bad names , harassing them while the girls were trying to run away.

My other girl friends and I , participated in every demo after that , we went to any place we could reach for inside the city  in the  weeks followed, we participated in the first Friday the storm Friday where three female students had been arrested by security , and detained for almost a day, among them my friend “H” from Alnailan University , she is Darfurian , and she had been subjected to many kind of torture and beaten very badly , in addition to racial verbal abuse , her other tow girlfriends arrested with her , were from north states they didn’t face the same treatment and torture . Racial discrimination is very strong element in the way the police and the security treat the detainees male and females, it is very hard for Darfurians and people from African tribes specially women to express their opinion or became activists.

The demonstrations we started that Saturday night continued and spread through out the country for the next 5 weeks ,  the protests in Khartoum university and inside and outside the dorms continued , therefore, and after very strong nonstop demo for more than a month   , the dorms department in the Education ministry decided to close down the dorms and evacuate it in 48 hours , the  male and female students  refused to evacuate in the determined period , so on July 16th , we took the street refusing to leave, as  our universities were opened , and we were coming from far states , and  didn’t have money to go back home ,  having  no place to stay in Khartoum , so the administration of the dorms started cutting of the electricity and water, to make us go by force, but we refused and stayed .

On the July 16th demonstrations the police and the security used brutal force against students specially girls, they unzipped their trousers in the street to intimidate us and starting trying to grab  the girls from their closes , we tried to calm down the situation , as the riot police came in big numbers , but girls were very strong that ,  we through back the tear gas on the police and they starting running away from us , that is when we took the chance and used microphones to speak to them , we told them that we are just students , and we have the right to stay in the dorms , and we have the right to protest and protect our rights , I was among 4 or 5 girls started negotiating with the police to stop firing tear gas , and we told them that we respect their uniform , but the other pail cloth men  the police has to stop them from sexually harassing us as the police  was  just watching them abuse us .

In the end the police backed off , but there had been 50 girls at least arrested that by the police , and many injured .  in the next day the demo brook again in the Khartoum university , and when I tried to go inside the university the women guard hit me in my face , and then the police arrested me and other girls and they took my phone because I was taking pictures and filming . but in this day the security members continued their sexual harassment and they unzipped their paints in front of us to scare us away , and one of the dorm girls get kidnapped by the security while she was getting out from the university , they polled her out from her shirt and taken her inside , but  once they  released her  , she left the dorm at night and refused to talk to her friends about it .

Even after the demos,  kind of stopped now we still afraid inside the dorms at night fearing that the security members intimidation will come true and they will attack us at night specially after the rape case of Mozdalifa Ahmed  , a female student , got raped inside the university dorms in Alfashir in North Darfur on July 10th by a man wearing army clothes  .

We know now that the Government has great fear from dorm girls, so they use their security forces to sexually harass us , and intimidate us . the problem is that many girls are really afraid now after what we have been through in the past 6 weeks , but we all know that we have to continue demanding our rights , this is our only way to survive, we are living at great risks of being arrested , tortured , raped kidnapped ,injured or even killed , but for me I will continue to fight all the way out , because as a women from a war zone like Darfur , I just can’t give up , I have no other choice .

* I am Student in Sudan University , college of education , psychology department , second year. From north Darfur , and I live in Alzahraa girls dorm , I prefer to remain anonymous for my safety

 

 

 

 

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