Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir calls state of emergency, names new PM
- Sat, 23 Feb 2019 15:55
KHARTOUM: Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir declared a state of emergency and dissolved central and regional governments on Friday.
Addressing the nation, Al-Bashir called on parliament to postpone constitutional amendments that would allow him to run for another term in a presidential election in 2020.
Al-Bashir appointed a new prime minister, but left the country's current defense, foreign and justice ministers in place.
The president also appointed new state governors who were all from the military, according to a presidency statement.
Bashir has been facing the biggest popular protests against his rule since he came to power 30 years ago.
Earlier Friday, security forces fired teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters who marched and chanted anti-government slogans following Friday prayers at a major mosque near the Sudanese capital.
The demonstration in the city of Omdurman outside Al-Sayed Abd Al-Rahman Al-Mahdi mosque, which has ties to the opposition Umma party, was the latest in what have become near-daily protests in Sudan since Dec. 19.
Protesters chanted “the revolution is the choice of the people” and “fall, that’s it,” to express that their only demand is the end of President Omar Al-Bashir’s rule.
The demonstrations were triggered by price increases and cash shortages but have developed into protests targeting Bashir himself.
Activists say nearly 60 people have been killed during two months of protests, while authorities put the death toll at 32, including three security personnel.
Security forces have used tear gas and live bullets to disperse protesters, and have arrested people including opposition party members, activists and journalists.
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges of masterminding genocide in the Darfur region, which he denies. He has been lobbying for Sudan to be removed from a list of countries Washington deems state sponsors of terrorism.
The listing has blocked the investment and financial aid that Sudan was hoping for when the United States lifted sanctions in 2017, economists say.
Sudan has been rapidly expanding its money supply in an attempt to finance its budget deficit, causing spiraling inflation and a steep decline in the value of its currency.