People in Sudan are continuing to take to the streets in mass protests after the military seized power in a coup on Monday Oct. 25 and opened fire on protesters.
The military had been sharing power with civilian leaders in a transitional government for over two years, after the country’s long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir was overthrown in April 2019 following an uprising.
The military then took power and formed a Transitional Military Council to oversee the transition of power.
However, this was met with months of pro-democracy protests that led to the formation of a power-sharing government between the military and civilians in 2019 that was supposed to lead to free elections in 2023.
On Monday, however, the military dissolved the government, arrested the prime minister and imposed a state of emergency.
Prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and his wife were held at an undisclosed location after he refused to endorse the coup, and other civilian leaders were also imprisoned.
The internet was shut down in most of the country.
As news of the coup spread, protesters took to the streets of Khartoum, where soldiers opened fire on demonstrators and killed at least seven people and wounded at least 140 others, a health ministry official told Reuters.
Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s armed forces, appeared on TV and announced he had dissolved the Sovereign Council, the power-sharing body, and the military was now in power.
Burhan has denied that the takeover was a “coup” and said it had been necessary to avoid “civil war”.
The move came just weeks before he was supposed to surrender his position leading the Sovereign Council to a civilian, which would have put Sudan under full civilian control for the first time since 1989, according to the New York Times.
Speaking on Tuesday, Burhan said Hamdok was being held at Burhan’s house “for his own safety” and would be allowed to return home later in the day.
He said the military would still hold elections in July 2023 and hand power over to a civilian government then.
The coup has drawn international condemnation, and the UN Security Council will be holding a closed-door emergency meeting to discuss the issue on Tuesday.