Why is Social Media Going Blue for Sudan?

A protester in Sudan,

Social media users are changing their profile pictures to blue to express solidarity with protesters in Sudan in the wake of a brutal crackdown that killed dozens of people in the capital, Khartoum.

The blue wave has spread across various platforms via the #BlueForSudan hashtag, as Twitter and Instagram users attempt to honour the memory of one of the victims: Mohamed Mattar, whose favourite colour was reportedly blue.

The 26-year-old engineer was fatally shot during the June 3 crackdown blamed by protesters on Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group led by a senior member of Sudan’s  ruling Transitional Military Council.

Mattar was reportedly shot while trying to protect two women during the bloody dispersal of the protest camp outside the military headquarters.

“Once he was murdered, his friends and family changed their profile picture to match his, and eventually other people began to join in,” said Shahd Khidir, a friend of Mattar’s and a beauty influencer on Instagram who asked her followers to change their profile pictures to blue.

“Now [the colour] represents all of the Sudanese people who have fallen in the uprising.”

The sit-in, which began on April 6, was the culmination of months of protests against Sudan’s longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir. He was removed in a coup on April 11, but protesters remained at the site of a sit-in outside army headquarters, calling for civilian rule, until the crackdown.

Since then, the country’s military rulers have reduced internet access, leading to what rights groups have described as a  total shutdown on June 10, leaving protesters more cut off from the outside world.

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