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Sudanese Military Suspends Talks with Civilian Protest Leaders

Sudanese protesters gather during a sit-in outside military headquarters after clashing with security forces in Khartoum, May 15, 2019.

Sudan's ruling military council has suspended talks with civilian protest leaders on a transitional government after at least eight people were wounded in an apparent clash with security forces in Khartoum on Wednesday.

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan announced Thursday that negotiations have been suspended for 72 hours in the aftermath of the shooting, which he blamed on protesters who had refused to remove barricades at key roads in the capital city. The barricades were first erected last month at the start of sit-ins that grew from street protests demanding the ouster of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir.

The military ended Bashir's 30-year rule on April 11, but the sit-ins and barricades have remained, with protesters demanding the military hand over power to a civilian government.

Sudan's Transitional Military Council and the civilian protest leaders had agreed on the main structure of a transitional government before the talks were suspended.

The deal called for a three-year transitional power-sharing agreement including three councils to run the government — sovereign, ministries, and legislative.The opposition Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces would hold two-thirds of the seats in the 300-seat parliament.

But there is no agreement yet on which side — civilians or the military — will have a majority in the ruling sovereign council until elections in 2022.