Images of Sudanese woman, Alaa Salah, leading powerful protest chants in Khartoum, have gone viral on the Internet.
Protests calling for an end to the 30-year rule of President Omar al-Bashir started in December. Braving the risks and intermittent violence, Salah represents the important role women have played in the popular uprising that has now led to the end of al-Bashir’s authoritarian rule.
The iconic image, which has been dubbed online as the Sudanese Statue of Liberty, shows an elegant Salah in a white thoub and gold disc earrings standing on the roof of a car with one arm raised, finger pointing upward, mid-chant. Local photographer Lana Haroun captured the image which included dozens of people surrounding Salah and recording with their phones.
Strong, Revolutionary Woman
“Sudanese women have always participated in revolutions in this country,” Alaa Salah said after footage of her standing on a car, singing and conducting crowds outside the army headquarters in Khartoum, went viral.
“If you see Sudan’s history, all our queens have led the state. It’s part of our heritage.”
“I’m very proud to take part in this revolution and I hope our revolution will achieve its goal,” added the engineering and architecture student at Sudan International University.
Salah, who confirmed her identity on a new Twitter account, has been dubbed “Kandaka” or Nubian queen online.
She has become a symbol of the protests, which she says have traditionally had a female backbone in Sudan.
On her first ever Twitter account, Salah thanked everyone “from the bottom of my heart. The struggle for a democratic and prosperous Sudan continues.”
One for the History Books
However, late on Wednesday Ms. Salah tweeted that she had been receiving “death threats” after her footage went viral.
“I will not bow down. My voice cannot be suppressed,” Salah wrote.
Supporters celebrated the young protest leader across social media networks, calling her a “hero” and an “icon”.
“This image from Sudan will be in the history books,” wrote one user.
Women have made up a large part of the demonstrators that since Saturday have thronged outside the sprawling army complex.
In the early hours of Thursday the Sudanese state media reported that the army was set to make an important announcement. The army later announced a transitional council had been set up following Omar al-Bashir’s resignation.