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Sudan's Military To Oversee 2-Year Transition After President's Ouster


Sudan's dictator has been forcibly removed by his own military. It happened yesterday morning. Sudan's defense minister appeared on state TV in uniform and announced the news.


AHMED AWAD IBN AUF: (Foreign language spoken).

MARTIN: He said President Omar al-Bashir was under arrest and that the Sudanese military would oversee a two-year transition period before holding elections. It's the end of an almost 30-year reign for al-Bashir. Dalia el Roubi is with us now from Sudan's capital, Khartoum. She is a member of one of Sudan's opposition parties and has been jailed for her activism against al-Bashir's government. Thank you so much for being with us.

DALIA EL ROUBI: Yes. Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: What is the mood in the capital city in particular? Are people clearly tempering their optimism?

EL ROUBI: I think the build-up yesterday to the announcement was filled with so much hope and commitment. And the streets were filled, waiting for the announcement of the defense minister. We were extremely disappointed to hear the announcement because it was, first of all, exemplary of how the regime has no respect for the values of our opinions and our rights, even with the change of Omar al-Bashir because, actually, in essence, we didn't just ask for him to go. We're asking for a whole system to go, and that change has to happen.

For us to be told, after all this time of protest and the best that have occurred - not just in the protest, but in the past 30 years by this regime - and to be told by someone who is actually blacklisted in the U.S. sanctions since 2007 because he was participating in the Darfur war - to be told by this very man that he is here to provide a transitional system or transitional government for the next two years - it's nothing close to what we are demanding.

MARTIN: So al-Bashir is gone, but now the military has stepped in. You say they're just an extension of him. So today, on this day of prayer, on this day of reflection, what is your hope? What happens now?

EL ROUBI: We keep standing, peacefully resisting. We have taken a huge step by getting rid of the head of the regime, but what we are dealing with is an Islamist movement. We have to understand that, as Muslims ourselves, we are fighting against an extreme form of the dictator that claims to be Muslim, and they are not.

We are coming back after 30 years, and the past six days has been a symbol of that. So on - upon reflection, the way forward is that we will continue in the sit-ins until the whole system is gone, the Islamic regime of the government is gone from all of it 'cause these people are a symbol of the brutality which we are against.

MARTIN: A particular woman got a lot of attention and headlines in recent days - became a symbol of the protesters - a young Sudanese woman who was wearing white, standing on a car in front of masses of protesters, reciting poetry. Can you tell us about her and why she became the symbol of the resistance?

EL ROUBI: I think that for us, Alaa Salah was a symbol of, two-thirds of the people in the protests are women. And you can see it. Anyone who's in the sit-ins or sees images - you know, you can see the presence of women of all ages and all backgrounds. What that image did was it kind of summed it up, you know? It was just the right image with the combination of even the woman looking at her and listening to her. The poetry that she has is quoted from a poem by an activist female.

So there was a lot of solidarity in that image. She really was an opportunity for us to really come together and realize that this is a symbol of something that represents all of these memories - you know? - and the symbolism around it.

MARTIN: Dalia El Roubi, a Sudanese opposition activist. She joined us on the line from Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Dalia, thank you so much for your time.

EL ROUBI: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.