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  1. ITV Report

Sudan's president of 30 years Omar al-Bashir ousted from power

  • Video report by ITV News international affairs editor Rageh Omaar

Sudan president Omar al-Bashir has been ousted and arrested following months of protests against his leadership.

Tens of thousands of Sudanese civilians gathered outside the presidential palace in Khartoum to express their anger at al-Bashir's 30 year reign.

Protests had been ongoing against al-Bashir for months but the army are reported to have removed him from power.

In a statement today, the country's defence minister confirmed al-Bashir, who is wanted on an international arrest warrant for genocide and war crimes, was apprehended this morning.

Awad Mohammed Ibn Ouf said "free and fair" elections would take place - but not until two years time.

Army general Auf announced a three-month state of emergency, the suspension of the constitution along with the dissolution of the presidency. Airspace in the country would also be suspended for 24-hours.

Sudan's defence minister issued a statement on state TV this morning. Credit: SUDAN STATE TV

Why has Omar al-Bashir been ousted?

Protests on the streets have been ongoing since December, but al-Bashir and his closest allies have remained firm.

Two Sudanese government officials said there were talks about forming a transitional government, but the nature of what that could be has not been disclosed.

It comes a week after Algeria's president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power for 20 years, resigned in response to similar demonstrations.

Since Algeria's president resigned, protests in Sudan have gathered pace again, but security forces tried to dispel gathering crowds.

Violence broke out at a sit-in last Saturday, where security forces killed 22 people.

Al-Bashir banned unauthorised public gatherings and granted sweeping powers to the police since imposing a state of emergency in February.

Security forces have used tear gas, rubber bullets, live ammunition and batons against demonstrators.

Protesters celebrate by waving flags in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. Credit: AP

What has the reaction been in Sudan?

Thousands waited at sit-in protests outside the presidential palace.

Marchers waved flags, flashed "V for victory" signs and were singing and dancing. Some rode on the roofs of cars, moving slowly and honking horns in celebration.

But following the defence minister's statement, there has been outcry among protesters outside the palace.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, who have spearheaded the protests, said demonstrations will continue until civilian leadership is in place.

At present, elections are not due to take place for another two years, which means unrest in the country looks set to continue.

On Twitter, the group said: "These people belong in sit-ins along with other demonstrators until we have a civic leadership in place in accordance with the declaration of freedom and change."

Thousands have taken to the streets to celebrate the removal of Omar al-Bashir. Credit: AP

What role has the military played in al-Bashir's removal?

The military appeared to support the former leader, stating its support of the country's "leadership" and pledging to protect its "achievements" without mentioning al-Bashir by name.

But army troops did not try to stop protests and, in some cases, appeared to offer a measure of protection for the demonstrators.

Some in the protest movement have seen that as a willingness in the military to drop al-Bashir.

Many protesters outside the presidential palace waved flags, sang songs and danced. Credit: AP

Who is Omar al-Bashir?

Al-Bashir came to power in a 1989 coup, leading an alliance of the military and Islamist hard-liners.

Since then, the military has stuck by him, even as he was forced to allow the separation of South Sudan and as he became a pariah in many countries - wanted by by the international war crimes tribunal for atrocities in Darfur.

Despite an international arrest warrant being issued, al-Bashir went on to win elections in 2010 and 2015.

His last win was marred after the main opposition parties boycotted the election.