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Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir forced out in coup

See anti-al-Bashir protesters take to Sudan streets
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What we covered here

Dictator deposed: Sudanese strongman Omar al-Bashir has been forced out of power in a military coup.

Who is Omar al-Bashir? The ousted president ruled Sudan for 30 years after seizing power in a coup in 1989. He is accused of war crimes and genocide for his brutal crackdown in Darfur.

Why now? Bashir was removed after months of anti-regime protests, with the military abandoning him and siding with those seeking his downfall.

What happens next? In a televised statement, the army announced a two-year military council to oversee a transition of power and declared a three-month state of emergency. Activists have demanded the military hand over power to a civilian government as soon as possible.

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We’re concluding our live coverage of the coup in Sudan, which saw former president Omar al-Bashir ousted from power and his government dissolved after months of demonstrations, but stay with CNN as we follow the story.

If you’re looking for more, try these links:

HRW says how acting Sudan leadership treat protestors is a “test”

Human Rights Watch calls the ouster of long-time Sudan strongman Omar Bashir “momentous” and welcomes the release of political detainees, according to a statement from HRW Associate Africa Director Jehanne Henry.   

But Henry goes on to ask Sudan’s leaders to respect the rights of Sudanese to continue to protest peacefully and enact reforms to “reverse the entrenched patterns of repression and immunity.”

Henry also says a curfew set in place by the government is a “test” for how they will deal with the continuing sit-in, and a test for acting leader, Sudan’s Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, who has declared a two-year military council to oversee a transition of power in the wake of the coup. 

Henry says of Ibn Auf, “He doesn’t have a good record at all” and the “US has sanctioned him for his role in Darfur atrocities.” For that reason, she adds, “protestors watching are right to be skeptical.”

Henry also calls on Sudanese authorities to execute the 2009 International Criminal Court arrest warrant against Omar al-Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes. Bashir stands accused of conducting a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the country’s Darfur region. 

State spox: "The Sudanese people should determine who lead them," sooner than later

State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino said on Thursday that “the Sudanese people should determine who leads them and their future,” and that they “should be allowed to do so sooner than two years from now.”

Palladino said the US is “monitoring” the situation and that the “big focus for the United States right now is the safety and welfare of our embassy team on the ground as well as private citizens, American citizens in Sudan.”

After three decades of rule, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has been arrested and forced from power in a military coup.

Bashir’s government has been dissolved, and a military council has assumed control for two years to oversee a transition of power, Sudanese Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf said in a televised statement Thursday.

Egypt issues statement of support for people of Sudan

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry has issued a statement in support of developments in Sudan, emphasizing it stands by “all choices made by the brotherly people of Sudan and their desire to freely shape the future of their country at this crucial stage.”

Egypt will continue to “respect the complete sovereignty of Sudan and its national decision,” the statement goes on to say.

Egypt also says it has “full confidence” in the ability of the people of Sudan and “their loyal national army in overcoming this critical state”.  Egypt also calls on the international community to support the decision made “by the people of Sudan” and to assist Sudan in its efforts for a “peaceful transition towards a better future,” adds the statement issued Thursday.

Egypt of course shares a border and much history with its neighbor to the south.

UN releases $26.5 million in emergency relief

The United Nations has released $26.5 million from its emergency relief fund to provide “food, livelihood, nutrition, health, water and sanitation assistance” to over 800,000 people “affected by a worsening economic crisis and food insecurity” across Sudan over the next six months.

Read the UN’s statement:

“The economic crisis has had knock-on effects on the wider humanitarian situation that go beyond food insecurity. Higher food prices mean that families are eating less nutritious food and more young children and pregnant women are getting sick. Families struggle to afford even limited medical treatment. With jobs lost, they are also being forced to pull their children out of schools.”

Sudan’s anti-government demonstrations, which have led to the fall of one of the world’s longest-serving dictators, originally began over a rise in the cost of living, fuel shortages and a hike in food prices.

Human Rights Watch calls on authorities to carry out Omar al-Bashir's 2009 ICC arrest warrant

Human Rights Watch has called on Sudanese authorities to execute the 2009 International Criminal Court arrest warrant against Omar al-Bashir for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Bashir stands accused of conducting a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the country’s Darfur region. He was nearly arrested in 2015 while visiting South Africa. He faces five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes in connection to Sudanese military actions in Darfur.

Jehanne Henry, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said that the release of political prisoners following the coup announcement was a necessary start, but that Sudan’s leaders must do more to respect human rights.

Here’s what Henry said:

“This significant development reinforces the authorities’ obligation to address egregious human rights abuses suffered by so many Sudanese over the last three decades. Al-Bashir’s ouster is a testament to the tenacity of the protesters, who remained in the streets despite the government’s violent repression
The release of detainees in Khartoum is a necessary start, but Sudan’s leaders need to ensure that all those wrongfully detained are released and that the rights of the Sudanese people to protest peacefully are fully respected. They should also hand al-Bashir and the others facing ICC international arrest warrants over to the court at once as victims of the gravest crimes in Darfur should not have to wait any longer for justice.”

Khartoum residents react to military statement announcing two-year transitional council

CNN just spoke to two residents of Khartoum, Sudan, about the Sudanese military’s announcement of a two-year transitional council.

Tarek, an engineer in Khartoum, told CNN:

We oppose the statement… it did not cover what people were hoping it would from the army. We expected a statement that would meet the demands of the revolution. Everyone rejects it, we reject it. People will continue to protest until the complete demands of the revolution are met. People are continuing to protest with passion until the demands of the revolution are met God willing.

Mohammad, a student in Khartoum, told CNN:

We did not listen to the whole statement. The one thing we know is that there will be a two-year transitional government. We come here tonight as you can see for the martyrs, who were killed by the regime, and the regime is still here. It was toppled once, and it will be toppled again, and this is the only solution we have. This is all I want to say.

Sudan's security forces have been weakened, activist says

Sudanese activist and filmmaker Hajooj Kuka says he was held for three weeks in a secret detention center known as Al Talaja, or the “Refrigerator,” where sub-zero temperatures are allegedly used to torment prisoners.

Speaking to CNN after news of the military coup broke, Kuka said he was excited to hear that Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), which has waged a brutal crackdown on dissent, had nearly collapsed.

“One thing we’re excited about is the national intelligence service, which was the main service oppressing and killing people, almost collapsed … It’s not as strong an institution as it was,” Kuka said.

A CNN investigation released on Monday revealed details of the indiscriminate violence that has become synonymous with Sudan’s security forces, including torture techniques deployed at detention sites like Al Talaja.

Kuka said protesters were still out in force and demonstrations would continue until the military had handed over power to the people.

Photographer who took iconic image of anti-government demonstration says protests will grow

The photographer who captured the now iconic image of a young woman leading anti-government protests in Khartoum told CNN on Thursday that demonstrations would pick up pace following the military coup.

“Protest will continue because we have a lot of needs and we said it clearly to the government. Now because the old government is still at its place – only Omar Bashir left his chair – everyone here in the street is protesting even more than this morning,” Lana Haroun said.

“The protest will continue until things will change. Nobody knows what will happen, but this is not the way,” she added.

Protesters demand military hand country over to the people

Protesters were out in force on Thursday evening in the streets of Khartoum, near the nation’s army headquarters, demanding the military hand the country over to its people.

One demonstrator shared a video of the scene, where people were hanging off a banner-draped bridge and waving Sudanese flags, with the message: “Do you think these people will leave the sit-in and allow Ibn Auf to be president?”

Demonstrators are rallying against Sudan’s Minister of Defense, Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, who declared a two-year military council to oversee a transition of power after a coup forced President Omar al-Bashir from office.

I was 11 when Omar al-Bashir came to power. Terror is all his people have ever known

CNN’s senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir grew up in Sudan’s capital Khartoum. She was a pre-teen when President Omar al-Bashir came to power and recently returned to the country to cover his regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent. Here are her thoughts on his ouster:

For most people in Sudan, Omar al-Bashir is the only leader they have ever known, his 30-year rule defined by brutal oppression and astounding political survival.
Under Bashir, an entire generation grew up in the shadow of war, where the threat of torture in infamous “ghost houses” was never far away, and press freedom nonexistent.
Girls grew up looking over their shoulder for marauding gangs of “morality police,” ready to flog them simply for walking down the street with a male friend.
Boys in the north grew up in fear of being dragged from their homes to fight the civil war in the south.
Bashir taught everyone to live in fear. But he also taught them what they didn’t want, and even under his decades-long oppression they still, incredibly, visualized a democratic society.

Read more from Nima on the military coup that toppled Bashir.

Sudan should be "wake-up call" to leaders denying human rights, says Amnesty International

The ouster of Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, after three decades of a brutal dictatorship, should be seen as a “wake-up call” to other leaders denying their people of basic freedoms, human rights organization Amnesty International said in a statement on Thursday.

On this historic day for Sudan, the world must first and foremost recognize the unique courage, creativity and bravery Sudanese people have shown in demanding their rights. Today’s events should also serve as a wake-up call to leaders around the world who think they can get away with denying people their basic rights.

In recent months, widespread protests in Sudan and Algeria have forced their longtime leaders from office, bringing back memories of the Arab Spring uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa in late 2010.

The demonstrations have drawn parallels for their spread, sustained momentum and interconnectivity. Similar to what we saw nearly a decade ago, they’ve also risen beyond socio-economic grievances into political movements.

Dr Georges Fahmi, associate fellow for the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House, a UK-based think tank for international affairs, wrote in late March that this new wave will “not be as quick” as it was in 2011, given the lack of international support, but that it does show the momentum for change is still there.

“Just like the first wave taught us, democratic outcomes in Algeria and Sudan are not guaranteed. Nevertheless, the protest movements in both countries do show that authoritarianism remains contested by the people of the region,” Fahmi wrote.

Activists tell CNN they won't leave the streets until they are "truly free"

CNN’s senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir, who is from Khartoum and recently reported undercover from the capital on human rights abuses carried out by the nation’s security forces, said that activists are calling for a civilian-led transition of power and won’t leave the streets until their demands are met.

“The same people who had the courage to stand up and say ‘enough is enough,’ are now saying to us over the phone … ‘We know what we want and what we want is to be truly free. We know what that means, and what that means is elections and what that means is democracy and we will not leave until we get that,’” Elbagir said, speaking from New York.

A CNN investigation released on Monday revealed details about the brutal crackdown on dissent in Sudan, including the arbitrary detention and torture of activists. It also underlined that the Trump administration was holding talks on whether to normalize relations with Sudan, despite evidence that the north African country was failing to comply with a key US requirement to improve “human rights protections and practices.” In a statement to CNN, the State Department denied the US was in “normalization talks” with Sudan, but acknowledged that ongoing negotiations offered the possibility of “improved relations.”

“It’s pretty extraordinary that just as the West, just as Europe and the US, was making itself comfortable in accommodation with President al-Bashir in spite of the fact that he is a multi-time indicted war criminal, the FBI signed a counter-terror agreement just in November, the European Union was giving him money to block illegal migration. It seems his own people had had enough,” Elbagir said.

Military coup includes "same faces" that uprising revolted against, opposition groups say

The Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, a group of organizations that have been coordinating anti-government demonstrations in recent months, have rejected the military coup that overthrew President Omar al-Bashir, saying that the proposed transitional council was just more of the same.

The group said in a statement that the military coup had simply “reproduced the same faces and institutions that our courageous people have revolted against.”

“Those who have ravaged our country and massacred its citizens intend to steal every drop of blood and sweat that the Sudanese people have shed in their glorious popular revolution,” it added.

We, in the Forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, categorically reject what was declared in the statement of the regime’s internal coup d’etat forces, and we invite our resilient and resourceful people to continue the revolution, through holding their sit-in positions at the Army Forces HQs in Khartoum and other main SAF posts in the provinces of Sudan, and to remain on the streets in all the towns of Sudan. We shall stand our ground on the public squares and roads that we have liberated with our might, continuing with the popular struggle until state power is reinstated to a civilian transitional government that represents the forces of the revolution. That is our clear and irrevocable stance: the streets never betray, and we shall meet there. 

Women chant "Auf's government - Falls!" in demonstrations against military council

Demonstrators are rallying against Sudan’s Minister of Defense, Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, who declared a two-year military council to oversee a transition of power after a coup forced President Omar al-Bashir from office.

A video shared on Thursday captures women in headscarves chanting: “Auf’s government - Falls!”

Women have played a central role in the months-long anti-government demonstrations that have gripped Sudan, organizing rallies and coordinating medical treatment for those injured in clashes.

The female protesters have been dubbed “Kandakas,” a title given to the Nubian queens of ancient Sudan who fought to empower women. Earlier this week, a young woman became a symbol of the protest movement after a photo of her leading demonstrations went viral.

Female demonstrators out in force on Thursday in the streets of Khartoum.

In pictures: Protests that led to the downfall of President al-Bashir

On Saturday, crowds converged on the heart of Omar al-Bashir’s rule – Sudan’s presidential palace and the nation’s military headquarters – for a mass sit-in calling for the dictator to be deposed. Five days later, the Sudanese strongman had been forced from office, his government dissolved and a military council put in place to oversee a transition of power over the next two years.

Here are some of the scenes from the days-long rally, the biggest since anti-government demonstrations began in December:

Demonstrators rally demanding Bashir's removal from office on Wednesday, April 10.
Alaa Salah, a Sudanese woman propelled to internet fame earlier this week after clips of her leading powerful protest chants against Bashir went viral, addresses protesters during a demonstration in front of the military headquarters on Wednesday, April 10.
A person writes "Down with Bashir" as demonstrators take part in a protest demanding the departure of Bashir on Tuesday, April 9.

Situation could deteriorate: US embassy in Khartoum

The US embassy in Khartoum released a statement on Thursday following the military takeover, saying that while the atmosphere in the capital was currently “festive,” there was still a “possibility for a deterioration of the situation.”

“Demonstrations could escalate in intensity quickly. Sudanese security forces have used large amounts of teargas, batons, and frequent arrests to break up demonstrations. Bystanders have also been victimized by security forces’ actions,” the embassy said.

Sudanese security agents have the authority to arbitrarily detain and arrest anyone they deem to be undermining public order, including foreigners, the embassy said. Sudan does not recognize dual citizenship, and has previously considered US-Sudanese dual citizens as Sudanese citizens only.

At least three US-Sudanese dual-nationals are known by CNN to have been detained by Sudanese authorities since demonstrations began in December.

Rudwan Daoud, a Sudanese-American activist who was arrested at a protest in January and detained for six weeks in the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) headquarters without charge, told CNN in an interview last month that he was beaten and questioned repeatedly.

“Because I am a dual citizen they believe or think I am an agent to the US and they have accused me of supporting the peaceful protest,” Daoud said. “I don’t deny my involvement in these peaceful protests, actually I am proud of it.” 

Daoud said he didn’t think he would have been released if it hadn’t been for the intervention of the US embassy.

UN experts call on Sudanese authorities to lift state of emergency, allow protesters to assemble

UN human rights officials have called on authorities to lift the state of emergency imposed by the military and address the legitimate grievances of the Sudanese people.

UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, said:

“I urge the authorities to lift the national state of emergency and respond to the legitimate grievances of the Sudanese people through inclusive peaceful political process.”

Announcing the ouster of Sudan’s longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir on Thursday, defense minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf declared a three-month state of emergency and imposed a curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

The curfew will hamper calls from activists to ramp up protests outside the military headquarters in Khartoum and could set the stage for clashes later tonight.

“In this moment of crisis, the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly needs to be protected and guaranteed,” said Voule, along with Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye. 

At least 22 people, including five soldiers, have been killed in demonstrations since Saturday, according to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors.

Activists reject military announcement, demand power be handed to civilian government

Sudanese activists have rejected an announcement by Sudan’s Minister of Defense, Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, that a two-year military council will oversee a transition of power following President Omar al-Bashir’s removal. The activists are demanding that power be handed to a civilian government.

“This is a game on the Sudanese people, the street refuses totally the announcement by Ibn Auf,” activist Omar Al-Neel told CNN following the defense minister’s televised address to the nation. “All of the Sudanese people are in the street and demanding the downfall of all the regime and not recycling the same people.”

Al-Neel said that demonstrators would remain at the military headquarters in the capital Khartoum until their demands are met. Protesters began a sit-in outside the headquarters and presidential palace over the weekend in the largest rally since anti-government demonstrations began in December.

“I expect the numbers to increase and protests get bigger than this and it will be on a wider scale of protests, because the street is totally disappointed and depressed by this announcement,” Al-Neel added.

Celebrations outside the compound on Nile Street stopped after the announcement and people started chanting against the defense minister, who they see as holdover of Bashir’s regime.

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), an umbrella group of doctors, lawyers and other activists that have been organizing demonstrations, have called on citizens across the capital and regions around the country to converge on the army headquarters for more protests.

“The regime has conducted a military coup to reproduce the same faces and entities that our great people have revolted against,” the SPA said in a statement.

Gunfire outside Sudan's military headquarters

Videos filmed earlier Thursday outside Sudan’s military headquarters and shared on social media showed gunfire outside the military headquarters in central Khartoum.

Some angles of the footage appear to show soldiers shooting at a nearby building.

An official military source denied reports of a shootout around the Army General Command, Sudan’s official state news agency SUNA reported. The source told SUNA that bullets were fired in the air in “jubilation.”

Sudan military declares state of emergency

Here’s more from the statement by Sudan’s Minister of Defense, Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf. He confirmed that President Omar al-Bashir had been forced from power and his government dissolved after months of demonstrations calling for his ouster.

A two-year military council has been established to oversee a transition of power, ending Bashir’s three decades of rule. The defense minister said that Bashir had been forcibly removed and was now being “kept at a safe place.”

A three-month state of emergency has been declared, and a curfew from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. imposed. Ports and medical facilities will be secured.

Sudan’s cabinet, its National Assembly and municipal bodies have been dissolved, and the country’s constitution suspended, Ibn Auf said. The judiciary, public prosecution, embassies and diplomatic entities will continue to function as normal.

All political prisoners, detained by the country’s security services since a wave of anti-government demonstrations first gripped the nation in December will be released, the defense minister added.

Sudan's Minister of Defense, Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, addresses the nation in a statement on Sudan State TV.

Sudan's government has been dissolved

The Sudanese military has removed President Omar al-Bashir from power and set up a transitional military council to rule the country for two years, Sudan’s Minister of Defense, Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, said in a televised statement on Thursday.

Happening now: Sudan Armed Forces statement

Sudan’s Minister of Defense Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf is now addressing the nation in a televised statement, following reports that President Omar al-Bashir has been forced out.

Bashir was forced out in pre-dawn meeting

More details have been emerging about how Bashir was forced from power. Before dawn on Thursday, the heads of Sudan’s four main security apparatuses arrived at President Omar al-Bashir’s residence to deliver the message that he must go.

At 3:30 a.m., the leaders of the security agencies, which have so far been loyal to Bashir, told Sudan’s longtime leader that “there was no alternative” but for him to step down, two senior military sources with direct knowledge of the conversation told CNN.

According to the sources, Bashir resigned himself to the reality, saying “with the blessings of God,” an expression of acquiescence in Islamic tradition.

Sudanese prime minister, ruling party chairman arrested, military official says

Sudan’s Prime Minister Mohamed Taher Ayala and the head of the ruling National Congress Party, Ahmed Haroun, are among dozens of officials to be arrested in Sudan on Thursday, a top military official with direct knowledge of the situation told CNN.

Haroun, an aide to President Omar al-Bashir, has an ICC warrant for him.

Former defense minister Abdel Rehim Mohamed Hussein, former government minister and leading member of the National Congress Awad Al-Jaz and former vice presidents Berri Hassan Saleh and Ali Othman Taha, have also been arrested, the official said.

CNN witnessed military troops in the capital Khartoum storming the Islamic Movement headquarters, part of the ruling party, on Thursday.

Sudan to release all political detainees: state media

The Sudanese Intelligence Agency said it has ordered the release of all political detainees, official news agency (SUNA) reported.

Sudan's key location

Strategically located where sub-Saharan Africa meets the Middle East, Sudan is bordered by seven countries, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Chad, and Libya.

The country also straddles the 10th parallel, where mostly Muslim northern Africa meets the primarily Christian south.

Sudan gained its independence from joint British and Egyptian rule in 1956, but was quickly wracked by decades of civil war, which heightened following the discovery of oil in the country’s southwest.

While President Omar al-Bashir’s tough rule brought a level of comparative stability following a coup in 1989, tensions remained over the state of south Sudan that were not resolved until 2005, when a peace agreement was signed promising the southern regions of the country independence within six years.

In 2011, South Sudan voted overwhelmingly for independence, going on to become the world’s newest country.

The two Sudans continued to fight over the oil-rich Southern Kordofan state, however. Conflict in Darfur has also dogged the country since 2003, driven by tensions between black Africans and the country’s Arab elite.

Bashir’s alleged war crimes in Darfur made him a pariah in much of the world, but under US President Donald Trump, Washington had warmed to the Sudanese leader.

US attempts to re-engage with the Sudanese government have been widely viewed as a bid by the Trump administration to improve regional counter-terror cooperation and boost its diplomatic clout in Africa.

Activists demand military hand over power to civilian government

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) said it wants the military to hand over power to a civilian transitional government, SPA spokesman Elmuntasir Ahmed told CNN Thursday.

“We don’t accept the regime to reproduce itself or for the army to be solo in power,” he said.

The SPA, an umbrella organization of doctors, lawyers and journalists that has led many of the demonstrations, said in a statement that the ongoing crisis will not be solved by another military coup.

“The Sudanese crisis is chronic and cannot be solved from the top-down,” the statement said.

The SPA called on protesters to maintain the sit-in until a civilian government is in place.

Who is Omar al-Bashir?

Omar al-Bashir came to power in Sudan in 1989, when he lead a coup against then Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. Bashir dissolved the government, political parties and trade unions, and declared himself chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council.

He survived a coup attempt the following year. He later ordered the execution of more than 30 army and police officers implicated in the failed takeover.

In 1993, Bashir dissolved the Revolutionary Command Council and restored Sudan to nominal civilian rule, with himself as president. At an election in 1996, he was returned with more than 75% of the vote. That margin would increase to 85% in 2000.

Violence broke out in the Darfur region of Sudan in 2003, and Bashir was criticized for not cracking down on the Janjaweed militia, a pro-government militia accused of murdering and raping people in Darfur.

In 2008, the International Criminal Court filed charges against Bashir for genocide and war crimes in Darfur. Repeated attempts to bring him to justice were unsuccessful, however.

At the country’s most recent election in 2015, officials said Bashir had been re-elected president with more than 94% of the vote. Many major opposition groups boycotted the election.

Late last year, anti-government protests broke out in many cities in Sudan, demanding Bashir’s removal. He declared a year-long state of emergency in February 2019, as his forces attempted to crack down on demonstrations.

Those efforts appear to have been ultimately unsuccessful. On Thursday, the 75-year-old Bashir stepped down as president after 30 years in power.

Sudan Army takes control of the streets: eyewitness

Sudan’s Army has taken control of the streets, intersections and bridges in the country, according to an eyewitness in Khartoum. The army is not stopping the movement of protestors and people who are celebrating in the streets, the eyewitness said. 

Thousands of protestors continue to go to Sudan’s army headquarters in Khartoum as they await the military announcement expected on Sudan State TV.

Earlier a few people were injured when two security forces opened fire near the Al Bashir medical compound, the eyewitness said. The army was able to control the situation following the incident and it wasn’t clear if those injured were members of the security forces, army personnel or protestors.

Sudan President Bashir steps down and is under house arrest

Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir has stepped down and is under house arrest, multiple sources told CNN.

His personal guard has been replaced and is under close watch.

Bashir had ruled Sudan for three decades. He is accused of war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court for his government’s actions in Darfur.

Activists say protests will continue after military announcement

The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) has called on protesters to join a sit-in outside the military headquarters in Khartoum and to continue their protest even after an anticipated military announcement.

“The December revolution won because of you,” the SPA, an umbrella organization of doctors, lawyers and journalists that has led many of the demonstrations, said in a statement on Thursday.

“We will protect our revolution until all its goals are completely achieved,” it added.

Sudanese take to the streets ahead of announcement

Thousands took to the streets Thursday morning in Sudan to celebrate the anticipated ouster of President Omar al-Bashir. 

A CNN stringer on the ground saw thousands marching towards the military headquarters in the capital, dancing, drumming and chanting against the government. Cars honked their horns in support and women ululated in celebration.

People chanted: “He is a coward and he is fallen!”

There is heavy deployment by the Rapid Security Forces in the capital especially on the main bridge on connecting Khartoum with Um Dorman. They didn’t engage with the crowds, CNN’s stringer reported. 

Military troops however responded to the celebrating protesters, flashing the victory sign. One soldier was seen patting a protester’s back to congratulate him.

Sudanese activists circulate statement by purported military council

Sudanese activists have circulated a statement from a purported Military Transitional Council announcing the removal of President Omar Al-Bashir from power.

People are flooding the streets in Khartoum in celebration, according to social media reports and witnesses on the ground.

Inside the crackdown on protests in Sudan

Earlier this month, an undercover CNN team in Khartoum witnessed the brutal crackdown on protests which began over a rise in the cost of living but have escalated into a push for President Omar al-Bashir’s removal.

At demonstrations in a residential area of the capital in mid-March, CNN filmed the indiscriminate violence that has become synonymous with Sudan’s security forces.

Soon after one rally started, national security agents descended on the crowds, sending people scattering into alleyways and neighborhood homes.

We sought refuge in a nearby safe house, where a local family provides shelter to protesters – and people like us – who are trying to avoid detection. Getting caught could have meant death.

People spoke in hushed tones as they dashed quickly through the gates and inside, one whispering “God protect us” as they locked the door.

A Sudanese protester waves a national flag during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman on January 31, 2019. - Sudanese police fired tear gas at crowds of demonstrators in the capital and other cities today, witnesses said, as fresh protests demanded an end to President Omar al-Bashir's three-decade rule.
Chanting "freedom, peace, justice", the rallying cry of the protest movement that has rocked Sudan for weeks, demonstrators took to the streets in both Khartoum and Omdurman. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP)        (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
video

Inside the crackdown on protests in Sudan

Woman who became a symbol of the protests

The woman is wearing a long white dress and golden moon earrings. She’s chanting from the top of a car while surrounded by a sea of protesters holding smartphones, all trying to capture the moment.

This scene was captured in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, on Monday during the third day of a mass sit-in outside the presidential compound and army headquarters.

Lana Haroun, who snapped the image that has since gone viral, told CNN when she saw the woman she just ran toward her and took three or four photos.

“She was trying to give everyone hope and positive energy and she did it,” Haroun said. “She was representing all Sudanese women and girls and she inspired every woman and girl at the sit-in. She was telling the story of Sudanese women. … She was perfect.”

Read more here