Sudan braces for military announcement after anti-Bashir protests

Sudan state television said on Thursday that the armed forces would make an important announcement soon, amid speculation that a coup attempt could be underway against President Omar al-Bashir following months of protests against his 30-year rule.

“The armed forces will present an important statement shortly. Be ready for it,” the announcement on state television read, without giving further details.

As people waited for further word, state television and radio played patriotic music, reminding older Sudanese of how military takeovers unfolded during previous episodes of civil unrest.

The crisis has escalated since the weekend, when thousands of demonstrators began camping out outside the Defence Ministry compound in central Khartoum, where Bashir’s residence is located.

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Clashes erupted on Tuesday between soldiers trying to protect the protesters and intelligence and security personnel trying to disperse them. At least 11 people died in the clashes, including six members of the armed forces, the information minister said citing a police report.

Since Dec. 19, Sudan has been rocked by persistent protests sparked by the government’s attempt to raise the price of bread, and an economic crisis that has led to fuel and cash shortages

Opposition figures have called for the military to help negotiate an end to Bashir’s nearly three decades in power and a transition to democracy.

The demonstrators at the Defense Ministry had said that they wanted to submit a petition for the armed forces to take their side in their attempt to remove Bashir and his Islamist-backed administration.

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SudanCoup AttemptPresident Omar al-BashirSudan Protests