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Cablegate: Nothing New at Demonstration in El Fasher

VZCZCXRO7434
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1782 3191535
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151535Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9184
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001782

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SOCI AU SU CD

SUBJECT: NOTHING NEW AT DEMONSTRATION IN EL FASHER

1. (SBU) On November 14 El Fasher local broadcasting stations
announced that there would be a November 15 student demonstration to
condemn the attempt of the French organization Zoe's Ark to "abduct"
Sudanese children from Chad. UN agencies operating in El Fasher
announced through their daily radio check that there would be a
two-hour curfew in the morning between 0800 and 1000 during the
demonstration period as a precautionary measure to protect staff and
vehicles from any potential acts of violence or vandalism by
demonstrators.

2. (SBU) On the morning of November 15, primary and secondary
school students, chaperoned by their teachers, made their way
haphazardly to the North Darfur Governorate Building, carrying
banners and calling for an end to the "abuse and exploitation of
Sudanese children." The North Darfur Wali, Osman Mohamed Yousif
Kibir, addressed the demonstration, speaking to the necessity of
taking legal action action against Zoe's Ark workers and of
reunifying the children with their families. The demonstrators
dispersed without incident at 1100 local time, and regular activity
in the area (near the center of El Fasher town) resumed.

3. (SBU) COMMENT. The demonstration, like several before it in both
El Fasher and Nyala, was acknowledged by locals as a
Government-organized show intended to mobilize popular support for
its campaign of discrediting the international NGO community in
order to drive assistance providers from the IDP camps those
organizations service and accordingly to compel returns. END
COMMENT.

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