Crowds Gather on Khartoum Streets After President Toppled by Military

Demonstrators salute soldiers during a protest in Khartoum on Wednesday

Demonstrators salute soldiers during a protest in Khartoum on Wednesday

The council, which is now running Sudan under Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf, said it expects a pre-election transition period it announced on Thursday to last two years at most, or much less if chaos can be avoided.

The military leaders who carried out a coup in Sudan on Thursday have sought to reassure people that their only concern is public order.

Mr Ibn Ouf was head of military intelligence during the brutal campaign to suppress the Darfur insurgency in the 2000s.

Ibn Auf, who is under USA sanctions for supporting genocidal militias in the Darfur region, had been under worldwide pressure to establish a civilian transitional government.

In a TV address, General Awad Ibn Ouf also announced his successor, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, general inspector of the armed forces, as head of the transitional council. He said he was stepping aside to "preserve unity" of the armed forces.

Al Jazeera's Hiba Morgan, reporting from Khartoum, said protesters in Khartoum greeted Ibn Auf's announcement with "ululating and cheering". Instead he might go on trial in Sudan.

The military rulers vowed to open a dialogue with all political groups on forming a civilian government as protesters railed against their seizure of power after ousting president Omar al-Bashir.

"We are used to hearing government double-speak but we need to see if they're really interested in dialogue and listening to the voices of the people". In ousting the president, the military denounced him and his government for corruption, maladministration and "lack of justice". Uganda's President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, is eyeing the 2021 presidential election, his sixth-term run, after a Ugandan court upheld a constitutional change that removed presidential age limits.

But he said the council would never extradite him, or any other Sudanese, despite the ICC warrant.

Julian Assange, the co-founder of Wikileaks, arrested in London
Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said that Assange's asylum was withdrawn following repeated violations of worldwide conventions. He was apprehended outside the Embassy of Ecuador, where he had been evading an extradition request from Sweden since June 2012.

Demonstrators have since Saturday been camped outside the sprawling army headquarters complex in Khartoum, which also houses Bashir's official residence and the defence ministry. The government responded with a scorched earth assault of aerial bombings and unleashed the Janjaweed.

As fresh popular uprisings sweep through Sudan and Algeria, anger has mounted at both countries' militaries.

An ICC spokesman declined to comment on al-Bashir's case.

The organisation's Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said that although Thursday's events should serve as a wake-up call for leaders around the world thinking they can deny their citizens their basic rights, Amnesty was alarmed by the raft of emergency measures announced.

The military council had announced a two-year transition period, but Sudan's United Nations envoy told the Security Council in NY that this could be shortened "depending on developments on the ground and agreements between stakeholders". But at least initially, it appears to be trying to persuade protest organisers to end the campaign.

The army has insisted that it is not seeking power and Sudan's future would be decided by the protesters. They said their quarrel was with the commanders who had led the coup, not the rank and file. "We will have zero tolerance for any misdeed in any corner of the country".

Tens of thousands of protestors had kept up a vigil at the army headquarters in the Sudanese capital Friday angrily demanding that the military make way for a civilian government.

Thursday's announcement meant "we have not achieved anything", said another protester who gave his name only as Adel. The protesters have defied the military, which imposed a state of emergency and a nighttime curfew after it arrested al-Bashir.

Protest leaders dismissed the transitional military council as the "same old faces" from the old regime, which had led the country into multiple conflicts and worsening poverty and social inequality.

Latest News