South Sudanese authorities have arrested civil society activists and a politician and closed down a radio station and an academic think-tank, signalling a new wave of repression in response to calls for peaceful protests, said Amnesty International.
The uptick in arbitrary arrests and other measures come after the People’s Coalition for Civil Action (PCCA), a recently-formed umbrella group of government critics, called for peaceful country-wide protests on 30 August to force the government to step down, citing “failed leadership”.
“We are witnessing a new wave of repression emerging in South Sudan targeting the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.
“Peaceful protests must be facilitated rather than cracked down upon or prevented with arrests, harassment, heavy security deployment or any other punitive measures.”
Speaking to media yesterday, the Minister of Information, Communication Technology and Postal Services said that the government “prevented it [the protest] … to have a peaceful South Sudan”, arguing that any demonstration calling for change in leadership is not peaceful.