CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - Sudanese expatriates gathered in dozens of cities around the world over the weekend to show solidarity with protesters in their home country demanding that its current military junta hand power to a civilian government.
Wearing blue headscarves and draped in Sudanese flags, nearly 100 people gathered in the U.S. city Chicago, chanting revolutionary slogans to call for civilian rule in their home country of Sudan, which for decades has known only autocratic rule.
The protest in Chicago was part of a series of rallies taking place around the world in solidarity with Sudan's revolution, which started in December and has demanded that a military government hand power to civilians.
On Sunday, Sudanese protesters turned out across the African nation in what opposition leaders are calling a "Millions March," one of the largest marches in the country since the revolution began over six months ago.
Amin El Saeed, a Sudanese-American student, helped organize the Chicago protest.
"We're standing with our brothers and sisters in Sudan right now who are gathering for a million man march to once again stand up against an oppressive and brutal military regime that's been in power for over 30 years ... We want the world to know that what's happening in Sudan cannot go unnoticed. People are dying, people are giving up their lives for basic human rights and basic freedoms," Saeed said.
Sunday marked the 30-year anniversary of a military coup in Sudan that ended democratic rule and brought dictator Omar al-Bashir to power. Bashir's regime was accused of corruption and human rights abuses, included an alleged genocide in the country's Darfur region.
Bashir's military ousted him in April after mass protests. But the generals refused to hand power to a civilian government.
In June, regime soldiers killed over 100 peaceful protesters calling for civilian rule, according to Sudanese doctors.
In Chicago, Sudanese American Sali Maghoub said she hopes international rallies will push the global community to help Sudan's protesters achieve their demands.
"We're seeing exactly what happened in Darfur happening now in Khartoum (Sudan's capital), and for the entire country, where people are getting murdered, raped, and there's no justice. So all we're trying to do is bring attention to that, and we're hoping that we'll have more people supporting us, the international community, whether it's the United Nations, the United States, the EU, really any attention that we can get so we can help the people of Sudan is what we're hoping for," Maghoub.
International support for the revolution has been organized online with the hashtag #BlueforSudan, and in Chicago people wore blue to show solidarity with Sudan's protesters.
Some non-Sudanese people joined the Chicago rally, holding signs, chanting, and signing a large poster to show their support for the revolution. Sarah Boyer, a teacher, urged Americans to pressure their government to act.
"People are being shot down, and it's horrible, and one person, one email, one phone call can do anything ... Call your senators, email your senators, follow the hashtags on all of social media, anything blue for Sudan," Boyer said.
Nagla al Hassan, a doctor from Khartoum who has lived in the U.S. for the last 18 years, said she wants protesters in Sudan to know that the diaspora supports them.
"I want to send a message to people in Sudan: just keep the faith, keep the strength, we are there, we are fighting for you. We know you are inside, your demands are very tough, and it's very hard for you to demand for anything, but we are outside to fight for you," Hassan said.
With support growing around the world, Sudan's revolution is far from over.
Source: Voice of America