Sudan president Omar Al-bashir steps down after protests

Khartoum Sudan

He said a military council decided on by the army, intelligence agencies and security apparatus will rule for two years, after which "free and fair elections" will take place.

Since early morning, huge crowds of jubilant Sudanese had begun thronging squares across the centre of Khartoum on Thursday as the army promised an "important announcement".

The protests that erupted in December have been the biggest challenge to his rule. "Protesters are saying they are very confident that Bashir will resign", she said.

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.

Organizers of the protests that have drawn tens of thousands into the streets reject that, seeing it as a way for the armed forces to keep the power that it has held under al-Bashir.

The Sudanese Professionals Association warned against attempts to "reproduce the old regime". It quickly handed over power to an elected government.

The wider alliance the SPA has formed with opposition parties and some rebel groups from Sudan's war-torn regions said the sit-in would continue until Bashir steps down and makes way for sweeping reforms.

"I can confirm that Bashir has stepped down after pressure piled up on him by the army and the protestors", said the source, who asked not to be named, due to restrictions on speaking to the media. "Those people have killed protesters". It was one of the largest turnouts in the current wave of unrest.

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Shortly after the announcement, Twitter users circulated photos showing former detainees being welcomed by protesters as they joined demonstrations against Omar al-Bashir.

Now all eyes are on the Sudanese military, which has a long history of coups in the country. Just two years later, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Abboud took power in a bloodless coup.

For the first time on Monday, leaders of the protests called for the military's leaders to abandon the president.

Bashir's departure would cap a season of protest and political churn in North Africa that recalled the 2011 "Arab Spring" uprisings that removed autocratic leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. State goverments, the parliament and the council of ministers were similarly dissolved. He survived multiple coup attempts before succumbing to another military coup in 1985.

"We will only accept a transitional civilian government", Sennar told Reuters.

Al-Mahdi only lasted three years.

Mr Bashir has been in power for 30 years and been a hugely divisive figure since becoming president in 1989.

Al-Bashir had been in power nearly 30 years. Bashir, who is being sought by global prosecutors for alleged war crimes in the country's western Darfur region, had earlier refused to step down and said his opponents needed to seek power through the ballot box It is the fifth military coup in Sudan.

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