By Al Jazeera,
Defence Minister declares Sudanese leader ‘toppled’, announces suspension of constitution and two-year military rule.
Sudan’s armed forces have overthrown and arrested President Omar al-Bashir after months of protests against his nearly 30-year rule.
In a statement on Thursday, General Awad Ibn Auf said Bashir was taken to a “safe place” after the “toppling of the regime” and also announced the formation of a military-led transitional government, which will rule for two years.
“The armed forces will take power with representation of the people to pave the way for Sudanese people to live in dignity,” said Ibn Auf, the country’s vice president and defence minister.
He also declared a three-month state of emergency and the suspension of the 2005 constitution, as well the closure of Sudan’s airspace for 24 hours and of border crossings until further notice.
All of Sudan’s government’s institutions, including the national assembly and national council of ministers, have been dissolved, Ibn Auf added, assuring that Sudan would soon prepare for “free and fair” elections.
Protesters reject ‘military coup’
Ibn Auf’s announcement came against the backdrop of a sixth successive day of anti-government protests outside Sudan’s army headquarters in the capital, Khartoum.
Demonstrators have staged a mass sit-in outside the complex to call for the army to support their bid to see Bashir peacefully removed from power.
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which has been spearheading the protests, rejected Ibn Auf’s move as a “military coup”, however, and vowed to hold further demonstrations.
Protests against Bashir, who took power in 1989 and is wanted by the International Criminal Court, started in December over rising bread prices but quickly morphed into broader calls for him to step down.
Critics accuse the 75-year-old of mismanaging Sudan’s economy, resulting in high food prices, regular fuel shortages and widespread cash shortages.
‘We want transition’
Representatives of the Girifna resistance movement, which has helped organise the anti-government protests, said it would continue to demonstrate against the government until its demands were met.
“We want a four-year transition period where technocrats take over the country to ready it for democracy. We want an army that will protect us rather than rule over us,” Hajouj Kouka, a member of Girifna, told Al Jazeera from Kenya.
“We [the demonstrators] are very specific and untied about this demand.”
The downfall of Bashir follows the toppling this month of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, also following mass protests after three decades in power.