Organisers of the months-long demonstrations that triggered theoverthrowof Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir have urged pro-democracy supporters to protest against a military takeover, renewing their demands for a civilian-led government.
The appeal by the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) came late on Thursday as tens of thousands of protesters defied a nighttime curfew announced earlier in the day by General Awad Ibn Auf, who was sworn in as the head of a military council that replaced al-Bashir.
In a Twitter post, the SPA called on protesters to “gather now” and continue a days-long sit-in outside the army headquarters in the capital, Khartoum.
“Stay put and guard your revolution,” it added. “To comply with the curfew is to recognise the clone rescue government.”
The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said that at least 13 people were killed when security forces intervened in Thursday’s protests.
They included two demonstrators in the capital Khartoum, the committee said in a statement on Friday.
Since Saturday, at least 35 people have been killed in clashes with security forces, which have repeatedly tried to disperse the sit-in by force, it added.
Outside the sprawling complex, protesters beat drums, sang and chanted slogans such as “Peace! Justice! Freedom!” and “The first one fell, the second will, too!” as they thronged the area overnight.
“What is happening in Sudan is that the old system is being rebuilt in new clothes,” said activist Mohammed Hisham. “I’m 30 years old, and my whole life we have suffered from lack of freedom and continuous threats.”
Since December,Sudanhas witnessed persistent demonstrations sparked by rising food prices that quickly escalated into wider calls for the departure of al-Bashir, who came to power in a 1989 coup. Dozens of people have been killed in protest-related violence since the demonstrations began.
The crisis intensified on April 6 – the 34th anniversary of a non-violent uprising that removed ruler Jaafar Nimeiri – when thousands began amassing in front of the army headquarters.
As the protesters refused to leave, while braving live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas, state media said on Thursday morning that the army would make an “important announcement”.
This raised expectation of al-Bashir’s removal and prompted celebrations in the streets of Khartoum.
Joy turns to anger
Later on in the day, in a televised address to the nation, Ibn Auf announced that 75-year-old al-Bashir had been overthrown and taken to a “safe place” after being arrested.
But the protesters’ jubilation quicklyturnedto anger when Ibn Auf, who Bashir appointed first vice president in February, also said that the military council would run the country for a two-year transitional period.