By Hollie McKay
Published April 18, 2019
Sudan’s new military leaders on Wednesday arrested long-running president Omar al-Bashir’s two brothers on charges of corruption, as part of a widespread crackdown on officials and backers of the former government.
Hours earlier, Bashir himself, who was dramatically ousted more than a week ago, was relocated to Khartoum’s Koper Prison, an institution that has long housed scores of political prisoners under Bashir’s rule.
Despite the dramatic ouster of Bashir, thousands of Sudanese protesters continue to descend on the African nation's capital – pledging not to stop until the military relinquishes power.
Adorned with signs and chants, the Sudanese activists – ranging from youth and women’s rights groups to students and trade unionists – have assembled around the military headquarters in Khartoum, urging one another not to leave until the military hands over power to a civilian administration.
However, the military has declared it will remain in charge for a two-year transitional period, followed by elections. Yet across social media, many have affirmed to uphold the sit-in until their insistence for a quick handover to a civilian ruling council is met.
Bashir, 75, was known not only as one of the longest-serving Presidents in both Africa and the Arab world, but also a key orchestrator of corruption, conflict and civil war. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity for horrors committed in neighboring Darfur, but the military to-date has stopped short of agreeing to hand him over to The Hague.
His fall from grace seemingly began in December amid a deteriorating economic meltdown, prompting some 40 million Sudanese to take to the streets to demand his removal. The demonstrations stretched on for four months until activists raised the stakes with a sit-in outside the military headquarters.
Law enforcement and intelligence personnel initially purported to clear the area with a heavy hand, before siding with the protests and pronouncing a Bashir usurp on April 11. The next day, Bashir announced he was stepping down.
But with the sit-in ongoing and protests calling for a renewed wave of pressure against the military, their battle is far from won.