President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan has mocked those challenging his government through social media, saying no government can be removed through Facebook.
During a rally his supporters organised in the eastern city of Kassala, Bashir said only elections could bring about a change of government.
“Changing the government or presidents cannot be done through WhatsApp or Facebook. It can be done only through elections,” he said.
“This is our pledge and commitment before the Sudanese people. The decision is your right, the masses of the Sudanese people.”
BBC reports that the president was reacting to fresh demonstrations that were held in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital.
The protests started over cuts to bread and fuel subsidies in December but have since escalated into dissatisfaction at Bashir’s rule.
Sudanese authorities have blocked access to popular social media platforms used to organise and broadcast nationwide anti-government protests triggered by the economic crisis.
Sudan has been rocked by near-daily demonstrations for close to a month with protesters calling on Bashir, who came into power in 1989, to step down.
The government of the north-east African country tightly controls traditional media as the internet has become a key information battleground.
Internet users in the country say Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp have only been possible through use of a virtual private network (VPN), which can hide a person’s location.
According to local media, about 13 million of Sudan’s 40 million people use the internet.
Since the protests began, 30 people have been killed in clashes according to Sudanese officials.
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