Code: 750490 A

The new head of Sudan’s military council said on Saturday a civilian government would be formed after consultations with the opposition and promised the transition period would last for a maximum of two years.

Protesters, however, kept up the pressure for rapid change following the overthrow of long-ruling autocrat President Omar al-Bashir on Thursday.

In his first televised address, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Abdelrahman canceled a night curfew and ordered the release of all prisoners jailed under emergency laws put in place by Bashir before his downfall.

During a meeting between the transitional military council and a coalition of opposition groups, including protest organizers, the protesters demanded that civilians be included in the council, opposition activists who were briefed about the meeting said.

The military council also promised to “abolish all laws that restrict freedoms,” the activists said.

The main group organizer, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), said in a statement that the council’s response was not satisfactory and called for protests to continue.

The SPA said that among its key demands the restructuring of the country’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), the dissolution of militia forces that operated under Bashir and the arrest of all “corrupt leaders” involved in what it called crimes against citizens.

“There are clear demands and unless they are met, there is no escape but to publicize full rejection (of the council’s moves),” the SPA statement said, urging citizens to continue a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry.

Thousands of people continued their sit-in outside the Defence Ministry in central Khartoum, a Reuters witness said.

Bashir was overthrown on Thursday after months of mass protests brought on by rising food costs, high unemployment and increasing repression during his three decades in power.

But activists and opposition groups pressed ahead with demands that Bashir’s close associates leave.

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Sudan conflict New military council leader
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