Sudan joy turns to anger after 'military coup'

Sudan joy turns to anger after 'military coup'
Excitement began turned to anger and defiance only hours after Sudan's defence minister announced that Bashir had been ousted by the army.
3 min read
11 April, 2019
Protesters vowed to continue demonstrating despite Bashir's resignation [AFP]

Jubilation in Khartoum after the announcement of the end of Sudan's era of iron-fisted rule by Omar al-Bashir on Thursday quickly soured when protesters realised the old regime had no plans to go.

Excitement and jubilation began to turn to anger and defiance only hours after Defence Minister Awad Ibnouf announced that Bashir had been ousted by the army and a military council was being put in his place for two years.

"This is a farce. The regime did not fall. This is a reproduction of the same regime," one demonstrator told AFP, gesturing emphatically.

"This man (Bashir) is a bloodthirsty leader and he is wanted, he brings us another regime. This is completely unacceptable," added another.

As activists began telling protesters not to leave the site despite the curfew, one woman in a bright red headscarf also dismissed Thursday's events.

"Ibnouf and Bashir are two sides of the same coin," she told AFP. "As youth and citizens we see what's happening, the government is manipulating us.”

Thousands of people had flooded the centre of the capital Khartoum from early morning, cheering, waving flags and even kissing and hugging soldiers as they danced on armoured vehicles.

But after the army's announcement the celebrations evaporated, and the tone hardened.

"We are not leaving, we are not leaving. Just fall and that's all," some protesters in front of the army headquarters began chanting.

Demonstrators began re-erecting make-shift checkpoints set up on several streets leading to the sprawling complex, which earlier in the day had been dismantled after an unprecedented five-night sit-in.

The army has also slapped a night-time curfew on the country, due to start around 10:00 pm. But as night began to fall, it remained uncertain whether the crowds would disperse as ordered.

Abdel Wahid Nour, head of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army-Abdel Wahid (SLA-AW) group fighting government forces in Darfur, denounced what he called a "palace coup".

"What has been issued in the statement is recycling of the regime with new faces," he said in a statement.

It seemed many in the crowd were determined to stand their ground. And it was unclear how the army, which has so far not intervened in the protests, would react.

"We will not let the blood of our brothers be lost for nothing. This is a new duplicate copy of the existing regime," one protester vowed.

Four months of mass protests, initially over a hike in bread prices but quickly turned to demands for Bashir's ousting, have rocked the African country.

The protests gained new momentum last week after the resignation of longtime Algerian leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

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