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Sudan Protesters Call for ‘Million March’ for Civilian Rule

KHARTOUM, SUDAN Three members of Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council have resigned, but their resignations are yet to be accepted, the TMC said late Wednesday.

Lieutenant-General Omar Zain al-Abideen who heads the TMC's political committee was one of the resigning members, the TMC said in a statement. The two others were Lieutenant-General Jalal al-Deen al-Sheikh and Lieutenant-General Al-Tayeb Babakr Ali Fadeel.

Sudan's protest leaders have called for a million people to march Thursday to demand the military give power to a civilian council. The call came after the head of Sudan's transitional military council said it would hand over power "within days" if civilian groups can agree on who will be in a new government.

Sudan's main protest group, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), has called for a million people to take to the streets Thursday.

Earlier Wednesday evening, the SPA and the TMC agreed to form a committee to resolve their disagreements, amid tensions over how long it will take to move to civilian rule after the overthrow of autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

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 people's demand for a civilian government.

On Tuesday, Sudan's 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 BBC's Hardtalk program, when he underscored that Sudan's troops would not attack protesters who have been camped around military headquarters since April 6.

But protesters dispute Burhan's 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 council's 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 military's 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.

Sudan's 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 people's 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.

Source: Voice of America

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