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Sudanese protesters defy military-imposed coup after al-Bashir falls

THOUSANDS of anti-government protesters defied the curfew imposed today by Defence Minister Awad Mohammed Ibn Ouf after the military deposed Omar al-Bashir from the presidency. 

In a televised address yesterday, Mr Ibn Ouf said the military would impose a curfew across Sudan between 10pm to 4am for the “safety” of the citizens. 

However, protesters across the country denounced Mr Ibn Ouf’s move as a palace coup and continued calls for a democratic transitional government. 

Videos posted on social media showed protesters dancing and singing well into the early hours of the morning. 

In a short video posted by the Sudanese Translators for Change (STC) Twitter account an enormous crowd sings along as a soldier, defying his own curfew, blows out a tune on his saxophone. 

“The scene of the sit-in late last night, hours after the announced curfew went into effect,” reads the caption above a STC tweeted video. “The atmosphere was one of high morale and defiance. One of the slogans chanted was: ‘Ibn Ouf: just leave. That’s all’.”

This afternoon the military claimed it had no ambition to hold on to power but did reiterate that the military would rule over the transitional period for two years at most. 

“We have come with no solutions. We have come here to provide an opportunity for the people of Sudan to devise their own vision. We have no ambition to hold power. We are the guardians of the people’s change,” head of the military council’s political committee General Omar Zain Abideen said in a televised address. 

“This two year transitional period is fixed at two years as a maximum. If the people come up with a solution before that, even in one month, we’ll disband. No political party will be banned. All Sudanese will be treated on equal footing.

“We will not dictate any orders – but we must be realistic. I request the Sudanese people to support the military… to stand behind the military. We will protect the people’s demand but will respond firmly to any chaos.

“We have no political affiliation. We have no political ideology. We came forward in response to the people’s demands. However, I urge political leaders to seize this golden opportunity. Our top priority now is to maintain security and stability.

“The slogans chanted by the people must be respected. We will sit with the average citizen on the floor. We will deploy ourselves into the streets. We will listen to every average Sudanese.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged Sudan to protect human rights and rule of law. 

“The crisis has its roots in human rights grievances – economic, social, civil and political rights. The solution must also be grounded in human rights.”

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