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Sudan protesters reject army takeover after removal of president

Friday, 12 April, 2019, 12:25
Sudan protesters reject army takeover after removal of president

Protesters in Sudan have vowed to continue their campaign for democratic reform just hours after the army announced that the 30-year rule of the country’s president, Omar al-Bashir, would be replaced by a military-led transitional council.

In a statement broadcast on state TV, Sudan’s defence minister said Bashir had been arrested and that the army would would take over for two years, after which elections would be held.

Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, who is also an army general, said political detainees would be released but that a state of emergency would continue for three months and that a curfew from 10pm to 4am would be enforced for at least a month. All ports will remain closed for 24 hours.

The military takeover came after months of protests that escalated at the weekend when thousands of demonstrators began a sit-in outside the defence ministry compound in central Khartoum.

Though the removal from power of Bashir was initially welcomed with joy on the streets of Khartoum elsewhere, that rapidly turned to anger when details of the new government became clear.

The protesters’ rejection of their new rulers raised fears of significant bloodshed if the military decide to crackdown.

The army’s decision to impose a curfew on Thursday night was the most immediate challenge to the pro-democracy campaigners, effectively ordering the thousands who have occupied a crossroads in the centre of Khartoum for five days to disperse.

“Citizens are advised to stick to it for their safety,” said an official statement carried by state-run media about the curfew. “The armed forces and the security council will carry out its duty to uphold peace and security and protect citizens’ livelihoods.”