National call

Johnson County Sudanese community joins Sudan’s national appeal for help

About 80 people from the county’s Sudanese community gathered on the Pentacrest to protest the state of emergency in Sudan following the military takeover.

Gabby Drees

A protester chants and raises his hand during a demonstration against a military coup in Sudan at the University of Iowa Pentacrest on Monday, October 25, 2021. About 80 people demonstrated and other protests are taking place throughout the country. (Gabby Drees / The Iowan Daily)


Members of the Sudanese community in Johnson County joined thousands of protesters around the world on Monday at the Pentacrest to protest the military coup in Sudan.

The Sudanese army seized power on Monday, ending a three-year transition period following the impeachment of former President Omar al-Bashir in 2019. The military coup sent Sudan into a state of emergency as officials in the country were arrested by military forces.

About 80 people in the county have come together to call for action from the Iowa Senate and civilian government in Sudan. The BBC reported on Monday that seven people are believed to have died and 140 injured as a result of the protests.

Israa Elbashir, 23, a student at Mount Mercy University, said she joined the protest after hearing about it in a panel discussion.

She said she was protesting to express that her community would not accept anything other than civilian government led by the people, for the people.

“We are just getting started,” she said. “We all condemn this on them. Right now, as we speak, there is ammunition being fired in towns and neighborhoods and people are being killed. “

Elbashir said some of his family, including his brother, were protesting in Sudan.

“The whole Sudanese community and everyone across the country are on the streets,” she said.

Elbashir translated a protest song for The Iowan Daily, who said: “We are out and we will not go back until we have a civilian government led by the people. “

Some protesters waved their phones with a Facebook Live feed open to the crowd.

Amar Samel, 56, a resident of Iowa City in Sudan who received a phone to broadcast the protest, said there was currently no internet or Facebook access for Sudanese.

“I have no communication with my family,” he said. “This morning I had the chance to talk to my brother. He told me he walked 20 miles to protest. He said he didn’t know what was going on.

He expressed concern for protesters in Sudan, who are mostly young activists.

“We need support and we need help,” he said. “We raise our voices for our brothers and sisters. “

Fatima E. Saeed, an artist from Iowa City and former employee of the Iowa Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa, said she had not spoken to her family in Sudan for two days due to the media blackout.

“My mother and my siblings are in Sudan,” she said. “I didn’t sleep last night. I tried to call them, but most of the time I can’t hear them very well.

Saeed said the Sudanese community would like to speak to the Iowa Senate and Governor Kim Reynolds because they would like to help stop the killings of people.

“They are killing innocent civilians with heavy machinery right now,” she said. “We need urgent help. People have the right to live. They must respect people’s rights and lower their guns.

Fatima Hassan, 13, a student at Northwest Junior High School in Iowa City, said she joined the protest with her parents, who are from Sudan.

“I want to support the Sudanese community in Iowa,” she said. “My parents are worried about my sister-in-law’s family because they have demonstrated a lot.

Nadeem Mohammed, 18, a University of Iowa freshman who left Sudan eight years ago, said other students passing by asked questions on the spot. State in Sudan.

“We appreciate it because we are actually informing people,” she said. “It makes me feel like they care and are curious about it.”

Mohammed’s friend Shahad Elnour, 19, another UI student from Iowa City, said she guesses the worst until her family can contact her about what is going on.

Elnour said the group will organize at noon every Saturday in the future.

“They kill people, but we don’t know who is killed,” she said. “We’re just trying to raise awareness because people don’t know much about this situation and the community needs help. “