News Crowds rally against army coup in Sudan amid state of emergency

Crowds rally against army coup in Sudan amid state of emergency

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Soldiers have arrested most members of Sudan’s cabinet and an army general has dissolved the transitional government.

At least two dozen people were wounded in clashes between protesters and security forces, according to hospital documents obtained by The Associated Press.

By early Tuesday morning (Australian time), the head of the military, General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, announced on national TV that he was dissolving the government and the Sovereign Council, a joint military and civilian body created soon after the ousting of long-serving ruler Omar al-Bashir two years ago.

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and his wife were detained, along with senior cabinet members.

It comes after the PM refused to issue a statement in support of the coup, said the information ministry, still apparently under the control of Hamdok’s supporters.

The ministry called for resistance against the coup.

It said tens of thousands of people opposed to the takeover had taken to the streets and had faced gunfire near the military’s headquarters in the capital Khartoum.

At least 12 people were injured in clashes, a doctors’ committee said on its Facebook page, without providing further details.

The director of Mr Hamdok’s office, Adam Hereika, told Reuters that the military had mounted its takeover despite “positive movements” towards an agreement with Mr Hamdok, following meetings with a visiting US special envoy, Jeffrey Feltman.

A Reuters journalist in Khartoum saw joint forces from the military and from the powerful, paramilitary Rapid Support Forces stationed in the streets.

They restricted civilians’ movements, as protesters carrying the national flag burnt tyres in different parts of the city.

The information ministry said military forces had arrested civilian members of the Sovereign Council and members of the government.

In a statement sent to Reuters, it called on Sudanese “to block the military’s movements to block the democratic transition”.

“We raise our voices loudly to reject this coup attempt,” it said.

Sudan had been on edge since a failed coup plot last month unleashed recriminations between military and civilian groups, who have been sharing power following the toppling of long-serving ruler Omar al-Bashir two years ago.

Since Bashir was brought down by street protests, a political transition has seen Sudan emerge from international isolation under Bashir’s nearly three-decade rule.

Elections were to be held by the end of 2023.

The military was meant to pass leadership of the joint Sovereign Council to a civilian figure in the coming months.

But transitional authorities had struggled to move forward on issues including whether to hand Bashir over to the International Criminal Court, where he is wanted for war crimes.

Mr Feltman, the US special envoy who was visiting Sudan on the weekend, tweeted that the US was deeply alarmed at reports of a military takeover, which would put US aid at risk.

The United Nations, Arab League and African Union all expressed concern.

Military forces stormed Sudanese Radio and Television headquarters in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum, and arrested employees, the information ministry said on its Facebook page.

The internet appeared to be down in Khartoum and Al-Arabiya reported the airport was shut and international flights suspended.

Mr Hamdok is an economist and former senior UN official who was appointed as a technocratic prime minister in 2019 and is well respected internationally.

But he has struggled to keep the transition going due to political splits between the military and civilians and the pressures of the economic crisis.

As tensions built this month, a coalition of rebel groups and political parties aligned themselves with the military and called on it to dissolve the civilian government, staging a sit-in outside the presidential palace.

-with wires