In a televised address to the nation on Friday, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir declared a one-year national state of emergency. He has dismissed the federal government and all state governors and asked parliament to postpone constitutional amendments that would allow him to run for another term. President al-Bashir’s intelligence chief, Salah Gosh, had previously told reporters that the President planned to step down as leader of the ruling National Congress Party, and won’t seek re-election in an election scheduled for 2020.
President Bashir, 75, is an Islamist and former army officer who seized power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989. He has remained resistant to stepping down. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide committed during the conflict in Darfur.
Earlier on Friday, the head of Sudan's National Security and Intelligence Services (NISS) supposedly said that President Bashir would be stepping down. Anti-government protests have been held for weeks, which the President accused as an attempt to destabilise the country. The demonstrations started over cuts to bread and fuel subsidies in December but later morphed into anger at President Bashir's 30-year rule. To stamp out the protests, NISS have arrested hundreds of protesters, opposition leaders, activists, and journalists. More than 1,000 people are reported to have been detained since the protests began. Rights groups say more than 40 people have been killed in clashes with security forces.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, which is spearheading the protests, responded to Bashir's announcement by calling for the president to step down. "We are calling on our people to continue with demonstrations until the main aim of this uprising, which is the stepping down of the regime chief, is achieved," it said.