KHARTOUM - Sudan's protest leaders have called for a million people to march on Thursday to demand the military give power to a civilian council. The call came after the head of Sudans transitional military council said it would hand over power 'within days' if civilian groups can agree on who will be in a new government.
Sudans main protest group, the Sudanese Professionals Association, has called for a million people to take to the streets on Thursday.
Omer Eldigair, the head of Sudan's Congress Party, which has backed the SPA in the recent protests, says the demonstrators will not accept military rule.
He said yes they have escalatory measures, they are ready for a million-person march, and preparing for a nationwide political strike. They will not give up the peoples demand for a civilian government.
On Tuesday, Sudans army chief and head of the transitional military council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan, said the military would turn over power to civilians within days if the protest groups agree on the composition of a new government.
Burhan made the comments during an interview with the BBCs Hardtalk program, when he underscored that Sudans troops would not attack protesters who have been camped around military headquarters since April 6.
But protesters dispute Burhans characterization that a consensus has not been reached.
Waddah Salih said it could be done within one month if the opposition parties create a united government. The list of civilian members of government has been submitted, he said, so the ball is in the military councils court and they should accept it within a month.
The military ousted president Omar al-Bashir on April 11 after three decades in power and four months of anti-government protests. But protesters have continued their sit-in, demanding civilian rule and not the militarys announced two-year transition.
Protester Amjad Nimir said the transition period is too long and they consider it stalling by the military council to not hand over power to a civilian government immediately.
Sudans military is under international pressure to move more quickly to civilian rule.
On Tuesday, the African Union gave the military a new three-month deadline to hand over power or have Sudan's membership suspended. The bloc had earlier given the military 15 days.
Visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of African Affairs Makila James met separately Tuesday with members of the military council and protest leaders.
They discussed what the State Department has called the Sudanese peoples legitimate demands for an inclusive, civilian-led transition.
The U.S. has said there will be no talks on lifting U.S. sanctions on Sudan for sponsoring terrorism until the military hands over power to a civilian administration.