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As it happened: Sudan military dissolves civilian govt as anti-coup protests turn deadly

·12-min read

Sudan's military seized power from a transitional government on Monday and soldiers killed at least three people, wounding a further 80, as street protests broke out against what the information ministry said amounted to a military coup. Read our live updates below to see how all the day's events unfolded.

Sudan’s military seized power Monday, dissolving the African country’s transitional government hours after troops arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other senior officials. As thousands of people flooded into the streets to protest the coup, security forces opened fire on some of the crowds, killing at least three protesters and wounding at least 80 people, according to the Sudan Doctors’ Committee.

The takeover comes more than two years after protesters forced the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and just weeks before the military was supposed to hand the leadership of the council that runs the country over to civilians.

02.30am Paris time

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announces US is immediately pausing delivery of $700 million in emergency economic support funds to Sudan.

02.11am Paris time

  • US 'strongly condemns' military takeover in Sudan

The United States said Monday it "strongly condemns" Sudan's military for its recent government takeover, and called for the immediate return to civilian rule and the release of the detained prime minister.

"The United States strongly condemns the actions of the Sudanese military forces," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, as he expressed grave concern about reports that security forces used live ammunition against protesters.

"We firmly reject the dissolution of the civilian-led transitional government and its associated institutions and call for their immediate restoration," Blinken said.

12.00am Paris time

  • European governments condemn coup

The governments of the U.S., UK and Norway condemned the coup in Sudan, saying they were deeply concerned about the situation in the country.

They called on security forces to release those who were detained unlawfully, according to a joint statement released by the U.S. State Department.

Sudan's military seized power from a transitional government on Monday and a health ministry official said seven people were killed by gunfire and 140 injured in clashes between soldiers and street protesters.

11.00pm Paris time

  • United Nations Security Council members have requested an emergency meeting on Sudan on Tuesday, according to diplomats.

Britain, Ireland, Norway, the United States, Estonia and France requested the meeting.

9.35pm Paris time

  • Tensions between Sudan’s military, government building since September

According to Jonas Horner, senior analyst at the International Crisis Group in Nairobi, Kenya, many of Sudan's arrested officials "have been thorns in the side of the military for two years" with tension building considerably "since Septembers’ attempted coup".

8.45pm Paris time

  • US halts US$700 million of 'economic support funds' after military coup

The US State Department said on Monday evening it was suspending US$700 million in aid that was designed to support Sudan's democratic transition, after the Sudanese military coup.

"In light of these developments, the United States is pausing assistance from the $700 million in emergency assistance appropriations of economic support funds for Sudan," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, saying none of the $700 million had been transferred and so the entire sum was paused.

6:45pm Paris time

  • Third person shot dead by military, Sudanese doctors union says

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said three people had died of wounds after being shot by armed forces during protests against the military's takeover on Monday. The doctors union wrote on its Facebook page that at least 80 people were injured, like its last toll.

6:15pm Paris time

  • ‘Calm situation in downtown Khartoum’ as night falls

According to FRANCE 24’s Khartoum correspondent Bastien Renouil, “the situation is now pretty quiet in downtown Khartoum, near the presidential palace”, despite the latest protests.

5:33pm Paris time

  • Sudan army shoots dead two, wounds 80 anti-coup protesters, medics say

Sudanese soldiers killed two people and wounded more than 80 others Monday when trying to stem protests against the country’s military coup, the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said.

"Two people were killed in gunfire by forces of the military council coup," said the independent union of medics. It said doctors have also counted "more than 80 wounded".

4:20pm Paris time

  • UN chief condemns Sudan 'coup', urges PM's 'immediate release'

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the Sudanese military's takeover and urged the immediate release of civilian prime minister Abdalla Hamdok. "I condemn the ongoing military coup in Sudan. Prime Minister Hamdok and all other officials must be released immediately," Guterres wrote on Twitter.

4pm Paris time

  • Federal workers on strike; information ministry, Sudanese Professionals Association, others announce ‘civil disobedience’

The ministry of culture and information also announced on Monday that “workers of federal and state ministries and civil service institutions” are going “into a strike” as well as starting a campaign of “total civil disobedience” as a “refusal of the military coup until the power is handed over to civilians”, it wrote on Facebook.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, a main activist coalition in the uprising against Bashir, meanwhile called on supporters to mobilise after what it called the arrest of cabinet members. "We urge the masses to go out on the streets and occupy them, close all roads with barricades, stage a general labour strike, and not to cooperate with the putschists and use civil disobedience to confront them," the group said on Facebook.

Sudan's bankers' association and doctors' union on Monday also declared campaigns of "civil disobedience".

3pm Paris time

  • African Union calls on release of Sudanese political leaders

African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said Sudan's political leaders should be released and human rights respected.

"The Chairperson calls for the immediate resumption of consultations between civilians and military ... The Chairperson reaffirms that dialogue and consensus is the only relevant path to save the country and its democratic transition," Mahamat said in a statement.

2:30pm Paris time

  • Sudanese doctors committee says pro-government protesters injured

Several pro-government protesters were injured when Sudanese soldiers opened fire on them with live rounds, a Sudanese doctors' committee said on its Facebook page according to Reuters.

12:55pm Paris time

  • French President Emmanuel Macron condemns 'attempted coup'

Macron tweeted in support of Sudan's transitional government and called for the immediate release of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

"France condemns the attempted coup in Sudan in the strongest terms. I express our support for the Sudanese transitional government and call for the immediate release and safety of the prime minister and civilian leaders," said Macron on Twitter.

12:35pm Paris time

  • General Burhan dissolves government, declares state of emergency

In a televised address, General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan announced that he was dissolving the country’s ruling Sovereign Council, as well as the government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Burhan is a military officer who headed the Sovereign Council, a power-sharing ruling body.

Burhan said a new technocratic government would lead the country to elections. He set the date for elections at July 2023. He said quarrels among political factions prompted the military to intervene. He also announced the suspension of the anti-corruption task force.

In response, thousands flooded the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman to protest the apparent military takeover. Footage shared online appeared to show protesters blocking streets and setting fire to tyres as security forces used tear gas to disperse them. Protesters could be heard chanting, “The people are stronger, stronger” and “Retreat is not an option!” as plumes of smoke filled the air. Videos on social media also showed large crowds crossing bridges over the Nile to the centre of the capital.

Sudan's information ministry responded that Burhan's announcement amounted to a military coup.

11:35am Paris time

  • Live bullets fired on protesters, information ministry says

Armed forces fired live rounds at Sudanese people who took to the streets of Khartoum to protest against Monday's apparent coup, the information ministry said.

"Military forces have fired live bullets on protesters rejecting the military coup outside the army headquarters," the ministry said in a statement on Facebook, adding that "casualties are expected".

11:30am Paris time

  • ‘Significant’ international reaction to events in Sudan

"The US has said it is extremely alarmed, the European Union has said it expresses the utmost concern at what is going on. There has been a significant amount of international reaction," says Angela Diffley, FRANCE 24 international affairs editor.

"For the moment, nobody knows the whereabouts of Prime Minister Hamdok and it has been said on state television that (Sudanese) General al-Burhan will be taking to the airwaves shortly to make a statement."

10:50am Paris time

  • ‘Hundreds of pro-military demonstrators’ take to streets of Khartoum

"I've seen hundreds of pro-military demonstrators taking to the streets, armed with sticks. I have been told that the military are controlling the main bridges linking the city to neighbouring cities. They have also taken control of the national television and radio stations. They will issue a statement very soon," says FRANCE 24 correspondent Bastien Renouil, speaking from downtown Khartoum.

"I cannot move anywhere at the moment, we don't know yet if the military will allow journalists to work freely."

10:40am Paris time

  • Arab League expresses 'deep concern' over apparent coup

The Arab League has released a statement of “deep concern” about the apparent military coup in Sudan.

The Secretary-General of the 22-member bloc, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, urged all parties on Monday to “fully abide” by the constitutional declaration signed in August 2019, which had aimed to pave the way towards a transition to civilian rule and democratic elections following the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

“There are no problems that cannot be resolved [with] dialogue,” Aboul Gheit said after Sudan’s military detained the country’s interim Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok along with other top cabinet officials, and protesters poured into the streets of the capital, Khartoum.

“It is important to respect all decisions and agreements that were decided upon … refraining from any measures that would disrupt the transitional period and shake stability in Sudan,” the statement added.

9:50am Paris time

  • PM Hamdok asks Sudanese to 'defend the revolution'

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who is reportedly under house arrest, is asking Sudanese people to continue holding peaceful protests and "defend the revolution", according to a post on Sudan's information ministry Facebook page.

It says joint military forces that earlier placed Hamdok under house arrest have been pressuring him to announce a statement supporting the coup.

After refusing to endorse the coup, the army has now moved the prime minister to an unknown location, the ministry added in another post.

9:45am Paris time

  • Military storm state broadcaster, detain employees

Soldiers have stormed the headquarters of Sudan's state broadcaster and detained some employees, the information ministry said, as part of what it has called a "coup".

"Joint military forces have stormed the TV and radio headquarters in Omdurman and detained a number of staff," the ministry said in a statement posted on Facebook.

The internet has been shut down in the country but images have appeared on social media showing angry crowds burning tyres in the streets.

9:15am Paris time

  • EU following events in Sudan 'with utmost concern'

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Monday he was following events in Sudan – where an apparent military coup has taken place – with the utmost concern.

"Following with utmost concern ongoing events in #Sudan. The EU calls on all stakeholders and regional partners to put back on track the transition process," he wrote on his Twitter account.

Sudan began a transition to democracy after a popular uprising and the ouster in April 2019 of President Omar al-Bashir, an autocrat shunned by the West who had presided over the country for nearly three decades.

Under an August 2019 agreement, the military is sharing power with officials appointed by civilian political groups in a ruling body known as the Sovereign Council, meant to lead the country to elections by the end of 2023.

9:05am Paris time

  • US 'deeply alarmed' at reports of coup

US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman said the United States was deeply alarmed at reports of a military takeover of the transitional government in Sudan.

On the official Twitter account of the State Department's Bureau of African Affairs, Feltman warned that a military takeover would contravene Sudan's constitutional declaration and put at risk US assistance.

8:50am Paris time

  • Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok placed under house arrest

Citing unidentified sources, Saudi-owned, Dubai-based Al Hadath said Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok had been placed under house arrest and military forces arrested four cabinet ministers, one civilian member of the ruling Sovereign Council, and several state governors and party leaders.

There was no immediate comment from the military.

The information ministry said "joint military forces" had arrested civilian members of the Sovereign Council and members of the government and had taken them to an undisclosed location.

Sudan has been on edge since a failed coup plot last month unleashed bitter recriminations between military and civilian groups meant to be sharing power following the 2019 ouster of former leader Omar al-Bashir.

Bashir was toppled and jailed after months of street protests. A political transition agreed after his ouster has seen Sudan emerge from its isolation under three decades of rule by Bashir and was meant to lead to elections by the end of 2023.

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