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#BlueForSudan: Social media users show solidarity for protestors

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#BlueForSudan: Social media users show solidarity for protestors
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Social media users across the world are turning their profile avatars blue to express solidarity with protesters in Sudan, following a violent crackdown which killed dozens of people in the capital, Khartoum.

The movement was started in memory of a 26-year-old artist, Mohammed Hashim Mattar, who was killed during an attack by security forces in Sudan in early June.

#BlueforSudan has been trending on Twitter as people seek to raise broader awareness of the situation in the country.

“Mohammed Mattar, was a very loved person, who believed in the people’s right and their revolutions,” said Saad Elasad, a Sudanese online activist living abroad.

“His friends started changing their Instagram and Twitter photos to his favourite colour #MattarBlue, which was also his account photo. Other people then followed even though some didn’t know him personally, which represent the spirit of sharing the pain in Sudan.”

Social media users say that Mattar was shot while trying to protect two women during the dispersal of the protest camp outside the military headquarters. Protestors have blamed his death on the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group led by a senior member of Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council.

In a country where the state tightly monitors traditional media outlets, the internet has provided a platform for Sudanese citizens to spread the ‘Mattar Blue’ colour in his memory. The trend has since travelled across the world, even while Sudan has been experiencing frequent internet blackouts.

Shahd Khidir, a Sudanese beauty influencer and blogger based in New York, posted about Mohammed Mattar’s death to help widen the reach of the campaign.

View this post on Instagram

It’s really hard being an influencer and sharing information that is “off brand” and not worthy of the “feed” but I cannot hold this in anymore. I am at my office crying because I have so many emotions in me and I feel horrible. There’s a massacre happening in my country Sudan’s and a media blackout and internet censorship for four consecutive days. There is no objective media sharing what’s going on expect for @aljazeeraenglish which had their offices shot down. My friend @mattar77 was MURDERED by the Rapid Support Forces. My best friend was in hiding on June 2 and that’s the last time I spoke to him. He was missing for 4 days and when I got in touch with him he said: “I was caught, beaten and abused and humiliated and arrested and had my phone confiscated from me. I am injured currently.” And all I could do this post this. I am sorry to all companies I am running campaigns with but my editorial calendar is currently on pause. I am willing to refund all and everything right away. Please, just send me an email. To my followers/supporters who this is too much for I am also sorry but my regularly scheduled content/reviews is also on pause. If this offends you, I am sorry. But I need to speak out and share this in a time like this. If you want to support me please share this information as widely as possible and don’t be silent. Be an ally because we need your help. And tune into my stories for more information. THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS BEEN SILENT. #sudanuprising #sudanese_protest #مجزرة_القيادة_العامة #عيد_شهيد #اعتصام_رويال_كير #اعتصام_القيادة_العامه #السودان @wawa_waffles @sudanuprising.updates #sudanrevolts #sudanuprising #iamsudan #iamsudanrevolution #sudanese #freesudan

A post shared by Shahd ?? شهد (@hadyouatsalaam) on

The movement has also received international support from celebrities, including Barbadian singer Rihanna and NBA player Enes Kantur.

#BlueforSudan has also become a rallying point for Sudanese nationals against the Transitional Military Council, with many users also sharing some of the statistics from the government’s violent crackdown. Yet more are also sharing a series of blue artworks symbolising the protests in Sudan.

Protests have been ongoing in Sudan since December 2018. Despite Omar al-Bashir being ousted as president in April and subsequently charged with corruption, protesters say they will keep up their campaign until the military hands over power.

Many people believe the #BlueForSudan movement has given people in the country renewed hope.