Sudan protesters reject military regime coup

Protest organisers vow to continue their rallies until civilian transitional government is formed after defence minister announced military rule for two years.

KHARTOUM - Organisers of protests for the ouster of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir rejected his toppling by the army Thursday as a "coup conducted by the regime" and vowed to keep up their campaign.

"The regime has conducted a military coup by bringing back the same faces and the same institutions which our people rose against," the Alliance for Freedom and Change said in a statement.

"We all reject what has been mentioned in the coup statement issued by the regime," said the alliance, an umbrella group of grass-roots organisers and opposition parties and rebel groups.

"We call on our people to continue their sit-in in front of army headquarters and across all regions and in the streets."

Sudan's military ousted President Omar al-Bashir on Thursday, ending his 30 years in power in response to escalating popular protests. The defence minister announced military rule for two years, imposing an emergency clampdown that risks enflaming protesters who have demanded civilian democratic change.

Al-Bashir's fall came just over a week after similar protests in Algeria forced the resignation of that North African nation's long-ruling, military-backed president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Together, they represent a second generation of street protests eight years after the Arab Spring uprisings that ousted a number of long entrenched leaders around the Middle East.

But like those popular movements of 2011, the new protests face a similar dynamic — a struggle over the aftermath of the leader's removal.

After the military's announcement, protest organisers vowed to continue their rallies until a civilian transitional government is formed. Tens of thousands of protesters were massed Thursday at a sit-in they have been holding outside the military's General Command headquarters in Khartoum.

The military's coup Thursday brought an end to a president who came to power in a coup of his own in 1989, backed by the military and Islamist hard-liners, and who had survived multiple blows that could have brought him down.