Sudan Unrest: President Under House Arrest

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After months of protests in Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir has stepped down. People took to the streets all over the country Thursday, after activists circulated a statement from a purported Military Transitional Council announcing Bashir’s removal.

The move follows an apparent split in the army earlier this week, when some units moved to protect anti-government protesters in the capital Khartoum. Bashir has ruled Sudan for three decades. He is accused of war crimes and genocide by the International Criminal Court for his government’s actions in Darfur.

Omar al-Bashir came to power in Sudan in 1989, when he lead a coup against then Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. Bashir dissolved the government, political parties and trade unions, and declared himself chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council.

In 1993, Bashir dissolved the Revolutionary Command Council and restored Sudan to nominal civilian rule, with himself as president. At an election in 1996, he was returned with more than 75% of the vote. That margin would increase to 85% in 2000.

Violence broke out in the Darfur region of Sudan in 2003, and Bashir was criticized for not cracking down on the Janjaweed militia, a pro-government militia accused of murdering and raping people in Darfur.

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