Blue For Sudan: Why Are Instagram Users Turning Their Profile Picture Blue?

18 June 2019, 13:48 | Updated: 18 June 2019, 14:43

Social media users are changing their profile pictures blue after user @mattar77 died in protests in Sudan
Social media users are changing their profile pictures blue after user @mattar77 died in protests in Sudan. Picture: LBC

A crisis in Sudan has inspired a movement across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter in which users are changing their profile picture to the colour blue.

Sudan has been controlled by a military council since pro-democracy protests led to the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir in April.

Protesters occupied a square in front of the military headquarters calling for the military to hand power to a civilian-led government, but on June 3rd security forces opened fire on unarmed demonstrators.

Doctors claimed that at least 100 people were killed in the square in Sudan's capital city Khartoum, adding that 40 bodies were pulled from the River Nile.

But a Sudanese official denied that more than 100 people died in the protests, putting the number at 61.

Sudanese demonstrators rally in front of the military headquarters in the capital Khartoum
Sudanese demonstrators rally in front of the military headquarters in the capital Khartoum. Picture: Getty

The British Ambassador, Irfan Siddiq, tweeted about his concerns about the security forces after attempts to disperse the protest.

"Extremely concerns by the heavy gunfire I've been hearing over the last hour from my residence and reports that Sudanese security forces are attacking the protest sit-in site resulting in casualties. No excuse for any such attack. This. Must. Stop. Now." he wrote.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also responded to the attack, calling it an "outrageous step" that would "only lead to more polarisation and violence".

Blue for Sudan: Users on Instagram are changing their profile pictures to the colour blue.
Blue for Sudan: Users on Instagram are changing their profile pictures to the colour blue. Picture: LBC

Why are profile pictures turning blue?

26-year-old Mohammad Mattar was one of the people who died in the protests, and the profile picture on his Instagram account was the blue image.

Campaigners called on other users to update their own pictures in a show of solidarity to raise awareness of the issues in Sudan.

Sudanese-American Human Rights Advocate Remaz Mahgoub Khalaleyal urged his followers to adopt the blue image to "paint Sudan blue".

He wrote in the caption: "Please change your profile photo and let the world know what is happening.

"We cannot be silenced.

"United we stand, divided we fall.

"Our strength is in our unity.

"This specific shade of blue in in honour of the martyr Mohammad Mattar.

"This shade of blue was his profile pic on Instagram and as a symbol to honour all martyrs we've changed ours into blue."

His Instagram post has been liked more than 280 thousand times.

Celebrities including Demi Lovato and Naomi Campbell have joined the movement, and changed their profile pictures to the blue image.

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