Sudan’s longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir has been removed in what military leaders are calling a coup after more than three decades leading a brutal regime that faced allegations of genocide in Darfur. Sudan's Minister of Defense, Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf, said on national television that al-Bashir would be replaced by “a transitional military council.” Protests that have gone on for months have often become bloody, with al-Bashir’s forces opening fire on groups gathered to call for his removal. At least five protesters have been killed. The ousted president is now being held on house arrest, according to local media reports. The fall of the Sudanese president is the second such removal of a dictatorial leader after the fall of Algeria’s president last week. “The overthrow of two entrenched dictators in less than two weeks reminds us again of the fragility of authoritarian government in the region and the widespread demand for an end to corrupt and stagnant rulers who fail to respect the rights and aspirations of their peoples,” Middle East Policy expert Timothy Kaldas told The Independent. Shortly after his arrest, AFP reported that all political prisoners held by al-Bashir had been immediately released.