Sudanese president declares state of emergency amid widespread protests
According to The Guardian, Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir has declared a state of emergency following conflicts between state police and protesters as he faces charges of genocide and corruption. Bashir, who took power in a military coup in 1989, also announced that he would dissolve the country’s central and state governments, and appointed new governors who were all formerly military.
In a televised speech from the palace in Khartoum, Bashir gave a rare concession in describing the protests as legitimate, trying to soothe over the country’s anxieties. “Our country is passing through a difficult and complicated phase in our national history,” Bashir said. “We will get out of it stronger and more united and determined.” Bashir also went on to say some elements within the youth-led protests will “take the country to the unknown.”
But many are concerned that the state of emergency will result in a crackdown on protesters, reduced freedom of the press and more problems for opposition parties. Immediately after Bashir’s announcement, there were more street demonstrations to demand that he step down as leader of the country. The president’s term ends in the year 2020, and though he has repeatedly promised not to run again a parliamentary group is trying to amend the constitution to do away with term limits.
Sudan has been in a near constant state of protest since December 19th, when rising food prices and shortages triggered national unrest. The protests quickly turned into calls for Bashir to step down, spearheaded by The Sudanese Professional Association. “The demands of this revolution are crystal clear,” the association said in a statement, “The regime and its head must step down.”
Mubarak al-Mahdi of the Umma Party, one of Sudan’s opposition groups, told Guardian, “What Bashir presented are tactics to keep his regime alive. Declaring a state of emergency means suppressing freedom of expression and demonstration and tightening grip on the revolution.”