Thousands of South Sudanese demonstrators called for Kiir removal from power in Washington DC on Tuesday
August 7, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Thousands of South Sudanese diaspora from all over United States went on street in Washington DC Tuesday, calling for the removal of President Kiir from power, chanting:
“Down-down Salva Kiir,”
“Salva Kiir must go”,
“The dictator must go”
“The killer must go”
“Salva Kiir must go”
“Bye-bye Salva Kiir”
Salva Kiir, however, was not going any where. He was confined to JW Marriot, where he was blaming Dr. Riek Machar for the conflict. Contrarily, the African leaders, with their partners, were celebrating with their communities in Diaspora on the streets of America. This was not the case for the lonely South Sudanese president.
The president of the neighboring Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, for instance, was holding big gatherings with the Kenya-Africans Diaspora, some of which were attended by celebrities like the Senegalese pop artist, Akon.
But for the South Sudanese president, “the must go” demonstrations were echoed, not only in the United States, but also in the big capitals of Canada such as Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.
The demonstration organized by civil societies across the United States protest the White House invitation of President Kiir who has, according to the demonstrators, killed tens of thousands of South Sudanese in South Sudan to US Africa summit.
The war still continues in Mabaan, where a government sponsored militia, calling itself Mabaan Defense Force(MDF), goes door to door, in the footsteps of Juba Massacre, targeting the Nuer ethnic group.
6 aid workers have been killed, which according to the United Nation Security Council would constitute a war crime. Similar call was made in Bor, when a government sponsored youth stormed a UN base, sheltering 5000 IDPs. According to IDPs report, 148 IDPs were killed and 273 sustained wounds. UNMISS put the death toll at approximately 60 people.
The demonstrators in Washington, mostly youth, broke down in tears while chanting Kiir must go. The demonstration was taking place at a distance of 500 meters from the hotel JW Marriot where Kiir was staying.
After the rally, thousands of Diasporas attended a briefing with the SPLM/SPLA delegations led by Amb. Ezekiel Lol, Amb. Stephen Par Kuol, Mr. Miyong G. Kuon, and Hon. Reath Muoch.
“You should not be worried about the dictator’s present in the land of freedom and the home of the brave”. Said the former South Sudanese ambassador to Washington, Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth.
“Washington DC is not Salva Kiir’s world, it’s our world.” Ezekiel told the gathering.
“We came here to tell the world our side of the story. You should not be worry because you know you are on the rights on this war.” Amb. Lul continued.
“We need to end this war, but the[Killing] will no longer be the business as usual.” Amb. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth said.
While meeting John Kerry, Salva Kiir continued to blame his main rival, Dr. Riek Machar, instead of him assuring the African leaders and the United States of how he plans to bring peace and contribute to forums like the Africa-US leaders summits.
“I always say that Riek Machar is not in control of what he calls his army. And so each commander in different areas are operating on their own,” Salva Kiir said.
Many Americans have criticized the Washington for inviting Salva Kiir, who was expected to show concerns for his people in Addis Ababa.
“I respect the presidents of governments like Liberia [for] staying home and dealing with the crisis at hand, but in a medically driven crisis, there’s not much that can be done other than reassuring the citizenry,” said Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center
“But in South Sudan, Kiir can actually effect change in the peace talks if he truly worried about the fate of his people.” Pham said.
On the other hand, the invitation of president Kiir was perceived by other critics as positive move. Some officials argue that “there are way worse leaders invited to the summit,” so why not the South Sudanese president.
“The fighting in South Sudan between the Dinka and the Nuer tribes is on par with power struggles in dozens of African countries.” said an anonymous official, who was not authorized to speak to the press, according to FP Analyst.
The official argue that “disinviting a legitimate leader to a summit with dozens of other human rights abusers sets a bad example for the U.S. government”. Such arguments were in line with John Kerry’s statements, during his meeting with Salva Kiir.
Kiir was received by supporters, who called for “one nation, one people”. According to government sources, the peaceful demonstrators, in support of Salva Kiir, were approximately 700 people in Washington.