May 2, 2019 / 4:20 PM / a year ago

Huge crowds join protest sit-in against Sudan's military leaders

FILE PHOTO: Sudanese protesters attend a demonstration in front of the Defence Ministry compound in Khartoum, Sudan, May 1, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

CAIRO (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of protesters joined a sit-in outside Sudan’s defence ministry on Thursday to press the ruling military council to hand over power to a civilian government.

The huge crowd was answering a call by an alliance of activists and opposition groups to join a protest march through Khartoum.

The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance said on Thursday it had submitted a draft constitutional document containing its vision for the transitional period to the Transitional Military Council (TMC).

Protesters and activists have been negotiating with the TMC to form a joint civilian-military body to oversee the period following the forced departure of long-term president Omar al-Bashir.

But the parties are deadlocked over who would control the new council, and what the features of a transitional government would be.

Opposition groups say the ruling council must be civilian-led and have promised to maintain a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry until their demands are met, but the TMC has shown no sign of willingness to relinquish ultimate authority.

People came from a number of different provinces to join the march, a Reuters witness said.

At a televised news conference, a spokesman for the DFCF said it expected a response from the military to its draft constitutional draft within two or three days.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Nafisa Eltahir

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