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Protests Continue in Sudan after Military Seizes Power from Ruling Transitional Government

Sudanese protest against a military coup that overthrew the transition to civilian rule, on Oct. 25, 2021 in the al-Shajara district in southern Khartoum.

The United Nations Security Council is set to hold a closed-door meeting Tuesday to discuss the military overthrow of Sudan’s transitional government.

Demonstrators remained in the streets of Sudan’s capital Khartoum to protest Monday’s arrest of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other officials of the ruling Sovereign Council.

Military chief General Abdel-Fattah Burhan declared a national emergency hours after the takeover and announced the end of the joint civilian-military council, which had run the country since August 2019, shortly after the ouster of longtime autocratic President Omar al-Bashir.

In a televised address, General Burhan said he dissolved the council and the government due to "political quarrels that were threatening the security of the country" and announced that a "new government of technocrats will soon be appointed.”

He pledged the military would turn over power to a civilian government in July 2023 when general elections will be held.

The Sudan Doctors Committee said at least four people were killed and at least 80 people injured on Monday when security forces opened fire on demonstrators in Khartoum.

Despite the violence, protesters were on the streets of Khartoum again Tuesday, condemning the coup and shouting “no to military rule.”

The U.S. Embassy in Sudan has warned Americans in the country to shelter in place.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the African Union, and the Arab League were among those expressing alarm and dismay Monday at the latest events in Sudan and called for the country to stay on a path toward civilian rule.

The White House said it was “alarmed” by the developments, while the U.S. State Department said it was suspending $700 million in financial assistance to the country.

A joint statement issued by the United States, Britain and Norway through the State Department condemned the coup and called on the security forces to immediately release all those people who are “unlawfully detained.”

“The actions of the military represent a betrayal of the revolution, the transition, and the legitimate requests of the Sudanese people for peace, justice and economic development,” the statement read.

Prime Minister Hamdok, an economist and diplomat who has worked for the U.N., was named the country’s transitional prime minister in August 2019. The transition won strong support from Western countries, including the United States, which removed Sudan from its state sponsors of terrorism list.

But Hamdok faced stiff resistance from elements of Sudan’s military. On September 21, forces still loyal to al-Bashir used tanks to block a key bridge and attempted to seize power. The coup was put down, and dozens of soldiers were arrested.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets last week to voice concern about the prospect of a return to military rule.

“This country is ours, and our government is civilian,” protesters chanted.

Some information in this report also came from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence-France Presse.