Most social media users are changing their profile pictures to blue in solidarity with the people of Sudan amid harrowing reports of ongoing violence against protestors.
Sudan in east-central Africa is midst of a political and humanitarian crisis, with protesters being killed, sexually harassed and bodies being thrown in the River Nile, in an upheaval that was triggered after the toppling of Omar al-Bashir, the former President of Sudan.
In light of the same, why are people turning their social media specifically to blue?
The hashtag #BlueforSudan is trending across all social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and users are posting solid blue pictures and changing their profile pictures to blue. The colour has come to represent the crisis after the death of activist Mohamed Mattar, whose favourite colour was blue. The 26-year-old engineer was shot to death on June 3 because of the crackdown on a pro-democracy protest camp in a square in front of the military headquarters.
Mattar got shot while trying to protect two women at the time of the bloody dispersal of the camp, allegedly at the hands of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary group led by a senior member of Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council (TMC). After his murder, Mattar's friends and family changed their profile picture to blue and eventually was caught up by the rest of the world.
What started as solely an individual's tribute has now turned into a symbol of the entire country's suffering and losses. Now the colour represents all of the Sudanese people who have fallen in the uprising.
As Sudan is facing a near-total internet blackout, this trend has taken global significance as most social media users are using blue to show unity and solidarity for those living in Sudan. With the country's internet being blocked by the RSF and TMC this social media trend is playing a huge role in spreading information from the protest movement internationally.
Those outside Sudan have been forced to rely on phone calls or word of mouth to receive information from the ground, without any visual footage, which they, in turn, share on social media.