Protests rock Sudan following military coup

Published : October 26, 2021 18:33 IST

Pro-democracy protesters took to the streets to condemn the military takeover. Photo: Ashraf Idris/AP Photo/picture alliance

The U.N. Security Council is set to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the military takeover of Sudan on October 26.

Clashes broke out between soldiers and protesting civilians in Sudan after the country's military, under top General Abdel-Fattah Burhan, seized power on October 25. At least seven people were killed by gunfire and 140 injured, Reuters news agency reported, citing Sudan's Health Ministry. Burhan declared a state of emergency and dissolved the government and the ruling Sovereign Council, a joint military and civilian body. Most of Sudan's Cabinet ministers and pro-government party leaders were arrested.

The arrests come amid rising unrest between Sudan's civilian and military leaders, who were meant to share power after former leader Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019. Since then, the country has been ruled by a transitional civilian-military administration until a civilian government could be elected.

General promises election

Burhan promised to complete a handover of power to an elected civilian government by July 2023. "What the country is going through now is a real threat and danger to the dreams of the youth and the hopes of the nation," he said. Clashes erupted in the capital city of Khartoum soon after his speech. Protesters barricaded streets and chanted in support of the civilian rule when they were met with a harsh crackdown. "Burhan cannot deceive us. This is a military coup," a young protester told the AFP news agency.

International community expresses shock

The United Nations Security Council has scheduled an emergency closed-door meeting to discuss the latest developments in Sudan for later on October 26, after several member nations, including the United States, United Kingdom, France and Norway, requested consultations.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had earlier condemned the "ongoing military coup in Sudan" in a statement. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also expressed "grave concern" about reports that security forces in Sudan had used live ammunition against protesters.

see/fb (Reuters, AFP, AP)