Sudan’s military seized power Monday, dissolving the transitional government hours after troops arrested the prime minister, and thousands flooded the streets to protest the coup that threatened the country’s shaky progress toward democracy.
Security forces opened fire on some of them, and three protesters were killed, according to the Sudan Doctors’ Committee, which also said 80 people were wounded.
The takeover, which drew condemnation from the United Nations, the United States and the European Union, comes more than two years after protesters forced the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and just weeks before the military was supposed to hand the leadership of the council that runs the country over to civilians.
After the early morning arrests of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other senior officials, thousands demonstrated in the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman. They blocked streets and set fire to tires as security forces used tear gas to disperse them.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “strongly condemns the ongoing military coup d’état in Khartoum and all actions that could jeopardize Sudan’s political transition and stability,” said his spokesman, spokesman Stéphane Dujarric.
Sudan has suffered other coups since gaining its independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956. Al-Bashir came to power in 1989 in one such takeover, which removed the country’s last elected government.
Among those detained were senior government figures and political leaders, including the information and industry ministers, a media adviser to Hamdok and the governor of the state that includes the capital, according to the senior military official and another official. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed.