Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has been arrested and put “in a safe place”, the country’s Defence minister said in a TV address, as he announced the formation of a military-led transitional government.
“I announce as minister of defence the toppling of the regime and detaining its chief in a secure place,” Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf said on Thursday.
“The armed forces will take power with representation of the people to pave the way for Sudanese people to live in dignity.”
Seated on a gold-upholstered armchair, Army general Auf announced a three-month state of emergency, a nationwide ceasefire and the suspension of the 2005 constitution, along with the dissolution of the presidency, parliament, and council of ministers.
He also said Sudan’s air space would be closed for 24 hours and border crossings shut until further notice.
Bashir, who ruled with an iron fist since he took power in a coup in 1989, has been removed after deadly force failed to end four months of nationwide protests for his ouster. He is wanted on charges of genocide and war crimes by the International Criminal Court.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, which has been spearheading the months-long protests against Bashir said that the sit-ins will continue until civilian leadership is in place.
“These people belong in sit-ins along with other demonstrators until we have a civic leadership in place in accordance with the declaration of freedom and change,” it said on twitter.
Tens of thousands of Sudanese marched early on Thursday through the centre of the capital, Khartoum, in jubilation, dancing and chanting anti-Bashir slogans.
Girifna resistance movement, which has helped organise anti-government protests, also said that they will continue to protest until a civic leadership was in place.
“We want a four-year transition period where technocrats take over the country to ready it for democracy. We want an army that will protect us rather than rule over us,” Hajouj Kouka, a member of Girifna, told Al Jazeera.
“We [the demonstrators] are very specific and untied about this demand.”
Earlier in the day, people had taken to the streets after the army said it would make “an important announcement”.
Thursday also marked the sixth day of a defiant sit-in outside the military’s headquarters, which also houses Bashir’s official residence and the defence ministry.
The downfall of Bashir follows the toppling this month of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, also following mass protests after three decades in power.