Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, on Thursday mocked his opponents’ use of social media to mobilise protesters against his three-decade rule, saying that Facebook and WhatsApp can’t replace presidents.
Organisers of the anti-government protests that have rocked Sudan for weeks, have made routine use of social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter to get out the crowds.
“Changing the government or presidents cannot be done through WhatsApp or Facebook,” Bashir told a televised rally attended by hundreds of loyalists in the eastern town of Kassala.
“It can be done only through elections. It’s only the people who decide who will be the president,” he said.
Activists have extensively documented the protests which erupted on December 19, 2018, and have flooded social media with footage of clashes with security forces.
The demonstrations have been spearheaded by the Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA) which issues regular online announcements of forthcoming rallies, using the hashtags #Sudan_cities_uprise or #Just_Fall.
Anger has been mounting for years over deteriorating living conditions and growing economic hardship. Sudan’s economic woes triggered mass protests in 2013 and 2016 that were put down only at the cost of dozens of deaths.