Posted by News Express | 11 April 2019 | 2,666 times
Sudanese activists have circulated a statement from a purported Military Transitional Council announcing the removal of the country’s President Omar Al-Bashir from power.
The Sudanese army will deliver a “statement shortly,” Sudan state TV announced on Thursday morning.
Reports of Bashir’s alleged ouster come amid a popular uprising against his rule that has seen thousands take the streets across the country. The largely peaceful protests have escalated in recent days, as different armed government forces engaged in deadly clashes.
As news of the statement spread, people flooded the streets in Khartoum in celebration, according to social media reports and witnesses on the ground.
Bashir took control after a coup in 1989 and became President in 1993. He stands accused of conducting a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the country’s Darfur region, and was nearly arrested in 2015 while visiting South Africa.
The protesters started as a demonstration against the rising costs of living but escalated into a push for the Bashir's removal from office, with mass rallies and sit-ins outside the presidential compound and army headquarters. In February, Bashir declared a year-long state of emergency in response to the protests.
This week’s sit-in had grown into one of the biggest rallies since the uprising began earlier this year, with crowds braving temperatures of more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) to camp out in the streets of the capital.
On Tuesday, members of the Sudanese army moved in to protect protesters in Khartoum, after national security forces attempted to break up the third day of a mass sit-ins.
Earlier in the week, the mood among protesters outside the compound had verged on victorious, with people chanting “thawra” (revolution) and waving the national flag aloft as soldiers looked on, footage from the scene showed.
Photos captured protesters sitting atop military vehicles and handing out water bottles, as others posed for selfies with members of the armed forces, flashing V-for-victory gestures.
A CNN team visited the capital of Khartoum undercover last month, where they heard reports of possible war crimes by security forces attempting to quell the demonstrations.
Sudan's government has reported some 32 fatalities since the protests began earlier this year, including three security personnel, but doctors and opposition activists suggest the toll is 78, excluding the military.
More than 3,000 people have been arrested since protests began in December, based on testimony gathered by CNN from activists, lawyers and victims. Many have been taken to secret detention sites known as “ghost houses,” which the government says don’t exist, and where detainees say they face physical and psychological torture.
Sudan has sought to censor news coverage of protests, and journalists found reporting on the demonstrations risk life imprisonment and the death penalty.
•Credit (except headline): CNN.
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