Sudanese protest leaders Sunday suspended talks with military rulers after the army failed to meet their demand for an immediate transfer to civilian rule.
The protest leaders had planned to name members of a civilian body to take over from the ruling military council which took power on April 11 after ousting veteran leader Omar al-Bashir.
The momentum had been building all day Sunday as a sea of protesters waited outside army headquarters for the planned unveiling of the civilian council, but by nightfall it was clear it would not happen.
“We are suspending our talks with the military council,” Mohamed al-Amin, a spokesperson for the protest movement, told the tens of thousands of protesters gathered at the army complex.
He said the weeks-long sit-in will continue and accused the military council of being little different from Bashir’s ousted regime.
“We call for escalating and continuing the demonstrations until the demands are met,” said Amin.
“We are treating the military council as an extension of the regime.”
Wagdi Saleh, a leading figure of the protest movement, blamed the military rulers for the delayed unveiling of a civilian council.
He said that during talks on Saturday “the military council had shown its dark side.”
“The chief of the council’s political committee told our delegation that they are still considering our demand among 100 other demands from other political parties.”
Madani Abbas Madani, a spokesperson for Alliance for Freedom and Change, said late Sunday a “sovereign council, a government and a legislative body” would be announced “within days” by protest leaders.
The crowds responded by continuing to sing and dance, holding their mobile phones aloft, as the torches on their devices created a sea of light and speakers churned out nationalist songs.
“High! High! Sudan is up high,” they chanted.
“Our revolution is civilian and protected by the people,” they vowed.
Earlier Sunday new military ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan vowed he was committed to handing power to the people, and pledged to respond to the demonstrators’ demands within a week.
The military council has been put in place for a planned two-year transition period.