By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The U.S. said Thursday it supports strongly "a peaceful and democratic Sudan" after longtime President Omar al-Bashir was removed from power by the Sudanese military.
"The United State continues to call on transitional authorities to exercise restraint, and to allow space for civilian participation within the government," State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.
"We commend the people of Sudan for the resiliency and their commitment to nonviolence as they express their legitimate demand for inclusive and representative government that respects and protects human rights," he said.
The Sudanese military earlier Thursday announced the removal of al-Bashir, who had ruled Sudan since 1989, and the imposition of a two-year "transitional phase" following mass demonstrations calling for the president to step down.
Defense Minister Awad ibn Auf also announced in a televised statement the imposition of a one-month curfew -- to take effect Thursday evening -- along with a three-month nationwide state of emergency.
Ibn Auf further announced the suspension of Sudan’s 2005 Constitution and the dissolution of the Sudanese presidency, parliament and council of ministers.
A military council, he said, would be drawn up to run the country’s affairs during the post-Bashir interim phase.
Sudanese opposition parties and professional associations voiced "total rejection" of what they described as a "military coup".
Al-Bashir came to power on the back of a 1989 military coup against the democratically-elected government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi.
In a subsequent statement, the Sudanese Professionals Association, which led recent protests against al-Bashir, urged members of the Sudanese military to be wary of attempts by the deep state to "steal the revolution".
"We call on all officers and soldiers of the Sudanese army… to stand with the people against attempts to steal the revolution by the regime’s old guard," the statement read.
The State Department emphasized it is the Sudanese people who should choose who leads them.
"The Sudanese people have been clear that they are demanding a civilian-led transition. They should be able to do so sooner than two years from now," Palladino said.