Sudan president Omar al-Bashir steps down 'in coup' after months of protests

Sudan president Omar al-Bashir steps down 'in coup' after months of protests
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     Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has stepped down after months of protests in a reported coup
     Consultations are underway to form a transitional council to run the country, government sources and a provincial minister said
     "The armed forces will present an important statement shortly
    Be ready for it," state television said earlier, as protests demanding Omar al-Bashir step down escalated
     Minister of production and economic resources in North Darfur, Adel Mahjoub Hussein, then told Dubai-based al-Hadath TV "there are consultations to form a military council to take over power after President Bashir stepped down"
     Sudanese sources confirmed the report and told Reuters Bashir was at the presidential residence under "heavy guard"
     Tens of thousands of Sudanese people took to the streets in the centre of Khartoum in jubilation, dancing and chanting anti-Bashir slogans
     Protesters outside the defence ministry chanted: "It has fallen, we won
    "  Over the weekend thousands of demonstrators began camping outside the Defence Ministry compound in central Khartoum, where Bashir's residence is located
     Earlier today, the north African country's army deployed troops around the Defence Ministry
     Soldiers and security agency personnel were on key roads and bridges in the capital as thousands of people flocked to an anti-government protest outside the ministry, a Reuters witness said
       Clashes erupted on Tuesday between soldiers trying to protect the protesters and intelligence and security personnel trying to disperse them
     At least 11 people died in the clashes, including six members of the armed forces, the information minister said citing a police report
     An image of a woman in a white 'towb' - the traditional dress - and gold earrings, standing on the roof of a car and pointing her finger while making a speech as crowds listened has gone viral in the last couple of days
     The speaker has since been identified as Alaa Salah, a 22-year-old student, and people have said the picture taken by Lana Haroun will 'be in the history books'
     Dozens of people can be seen recording Alaa on their phones in the iconic image, which people have even compared to the Statue of Liberty
       As people earlier waited for further word from the armed forces, state television and radio played patriotic music, a reminder of how military takeovers unfolded during previous episodes of civil unrest
     Meanwhile, more people joined the sit-in outside the ministry
     Since December 19, Sudan has been rocked by persistent protests sparked by the government's attempt to raise the price of bread, and an economic crisis that has led to fuel and cash shortages
     Opposition figures have called for the military to help negotiate an end to Bashir's nearly three decades in power and a transition to democracy
     The demonstrators at the Defense Ministry had said that they wanted to submit a petition for the armed forces to take their side in their attempt to remove Bashir and his Islamist-backed administration
     Bashir, a former paratrooper who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1989, has been a divisive figure who has managed his way through one internal crisis after another while withstanding attempts by the west to weaken him
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