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Aljazeera.com: Sudan's Bashir declares year-long state of emergency

Posted by: Berhane.Habtemariam59@web.de

Date: Sunday, 24 February 2019

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has declared a year-long state of emergency, dissolving his cabinet and local governments throughout the country.

In a televised address on Friday, Bashir also called on Sudan's parliament to postpone constitutional amendments that would allow him to run for another term in a presidential election in 2020.

Acknowledging the popular protests that have rocked his administration in recent months, the 75-year-old said the "demands of our people for better living conditions are lawful".

"I will not stop calling for all parties to sit at the dialogue table," Bashir said, adding he would remain on the "side of the youth who represent the future of Sudan".

Hours after the announcement, Bashir issued two decrees which set up a caretaker administration comprising a senior official from each ministry and kept the defence, foreign and justice ministers in place. He also appointed 16 army officers and two security officers as new governors for the country's 18 provinces.

Bashir's Friday address followed months of near-daily protests against his rule, with thousands of people taking to the streets across the country since December 19 calling for him to stand down after nearly three decades in office.

While the protests were initially set off by the rising cost of bread and fuel in the north of Sudan, they quickly grew into a demand for more political freedom and an end to Bashir's rule.

The Sudanese leader's term ends in 2020 and he has repeatedly promised over the years not to make new runs for the presidency. Without amending the country's constitution, he can not run for a third term.

Months of protests

His announcement came days after a parliamentary committee tasked with amending the constitution to scrap Sudan's presidential term limit cancelled its meetings.

The demonstrations against Bashir continued on Friday. 

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters who marched and chanted anti-government slogans following Friday prayers at a major mosque near the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, witnesses said.

Activists say nearly 60 people have been killed since the protests began, while authorities put the death toll at 31.

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