Jode Tariq, a slight 23-year-old woman with red hair extensions on her shorn head, has been arrested three times since street protests against Sudan’s strongman leader Omar al-Bashir started in December. On one occasion, her arm was broken by security agents, she said. On another they cut off her hair.

“The first time I was arrested from Khartoum’s downtown, while in the truck before reaching custody, they poured cold water on my back,” Ms Tariq said. “One of them ripped off my headscarf and cut the bun off my head with a razor blade.” 

Ms Tariq is one of the thousands of Sudanese women, long repressed by Mr Bashir’s Islamist regime, who have appeared in huge numbers at the vanguard of a protest movement calling for him to stand down.