Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir steps down according to government sources

Khartoum Sudan CC BY-SA 2.0 Juri Knauth Khartoum Thousands of Protesters Heading to Anti Government Rally in Sudan
Lora Ball | 11 April, 2019, 15:25

Word of al-Bashir's removal comes just over a week after Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power for 20 years, resigned in response to similar demonstrations.

Organizers of the protests that have drawn tens of thousands into the streets reject that, seeing it as a way for the armed forces to keep the power that it has held under al-Bashir.

Shortly after dawn on Thursday Sudan state television had trailed "an important announcement". The military's use of state television and radio to announce their takeover reminded many older Sudanese of past transitions.

Mr Bashir, a former paratrooper who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1989, has been a divisive figure who has managed his way through one internal crisis after another while withstanding attempts by the West to weaken him.

Sudanese demonstrators chant slogans as they gather at night during a demonstration in front of the military headquarters in the capital Khartoum on April 10, 2019.

The military will make an announcement soon, state television said as troops deployed around the defense ministry and on major roads and bridges in the capital. The government said 39 people, including three security forces personnel, had died since protests began on December 19.

"We are calling on our people to control themselves and not to attack anybody or government and private properties", the Alliance for Freedom and Change, the umbrella group that is spearheading the protest movement, said in a statement.

It was the first sign after weeks of a violent security crackdown on protesters that al-Bashir might be forced to relinquish power after 30 years of rule. Officials say almost 40 people have lost their lives in the protests so far.

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In a separate public statement addressing protesters, Thursday, the SPA said they will protect the "revolution until all its goals are completely achieved".

Reports also said that flights at Sudan's Khartoum International Airport have been suspended while only landings on the airport are being allowed. The government responded by cracking down on protestors, shutting the internet and social media outlets, cutting electricity and water services, and dispersing protestors using tear gas.

Sudan's police has ordered its forces not to intervene against protesters. "We call on the government of Sudan to respect the rights of all Sudanese people to express grievances peacefully", he tweeted.

On Wednesday, protesters were raising funds to ensure a regular supply of food and water for the crowd.

"Many shop owners and businessmen have offered us free supplies", said one demonstrator. The fatalities so far have included five soldiers who protest organizers said were defending the sit-in.

Several military vehicles carrying troops entered the compound in the early hours, according to witnesses.

Soldiers raided the headquarters of the Islamic movement led by Sudan's Omar al-Bashir in the capital Khartoum on Thursday, a Reuters witness said.

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