KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudan’s president was deposed on Thursday the same way he came to power 30 years ago — in a military takeover.
Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s downfall, however, did not come with the flying bullets or middle-of-the-night escapes many expected from a dictator who survived numerous past crises. Instead, the biggest peaceful demonstrations in a generation precipitated his ouster, though the hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in Khartoum received the announcement of new military leadership on Thursday with a mixture of disappointment and disbelief.
Sudan’s defense minister, Awad Ibn Auf, declared on state radio the takeover of a two-year transition government administered by the military with him in charge, adding that the constitution would be suspended, a three-month state of emergency would be put in place, and a curfew imposed.
Sudan’s state media reported that all political prisoners, including leaders of the protests, were in the process of being released from jails around the country. But protesters were angered that their demands for a civilian government were not met and vowed not to let the curfew end their massive sit-in in the capital, Khartoum.
“Did we go through all this trouble for this?” asked Khalid Osman, a protester at the demonstration Thursday. “It’s the same story.”
The protests were sparked in December by price hikes on basic goods but also reflected a deep-rooted desire for the replacement of Bashir’s regime. Bashir is accused of committing crimes against humanity and genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region and has been indicted by the International Criminal Court.