KHARTOUM - Tensions are rising between Sudan's military and protesters who have held a weeks-long sit-in around army headquarters in Khartoum. The protesters have vowed to stay until the country returns to civilian rule.
Sudan's transitional military council on Monday warned protesters it plans to clear the streets around the defense ministry.
Protest leaders in Sudan are urging their followers to continue a sit-in Tuesday aimed at forcing the new military rulers to hand over power to a civilian government.
The Sudanese Professional Association, which is leading the mass protests, had called for a march in Khartoum on Tuesday, followed by a mass rally on Thursday.
Meanwhile, protesters called for an even bigger demonstration raising the risk of confrontation.
After weekend talks with protest leaders broke down, the military council issued a statement calling for barricades around the sit-in, which started April 6, to be immediately removed.
The group leading the protest, the Sudanese Professionals' Association, suspended talks with the military Sunday because it refused the SPA's demand to promptly hand power to a civilian council.
SPA member Faisal Salih says the protesters had already made a list of civilian leaders they wanted.
But, at the meeting with the transitional military council Saturday, he says, the situation was deadlocked. So, they decided to postpone the announcement of the names and suspended talks with the military council, says Salih.
The military council, which replaced ousted former President Omar al-Bashir on April 11, is under pressure to return civilian rule after announcing a two-year transition period.
A Sudanese delegation is expected to visit the United States for talks aimed at getting Sudan removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Sudan's army ruler, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in his first interview on state television since taking power, said the delegation could travel as soon as "this week or next week for discussions."
The U.S. government added Sudan to its terrorism list in 1993 over allegations that then-President Omar al-Bashir's government was supporting terrorism.
Despite the removal of Bashir, protesters note the military council includes allies of the longtime president. They question the military's intentions, and refuse to end their four months of demonstrations until the country is under civilian leadership.
Protester Adam Yassin says he was actually expecting those steps from military council as long as it includes groups loyal to the former regime, with the same ideology.
Political analyst Alfatih Mahmoud says deadlock is expected after thirty years under Bashir.
He says he expects new horizons to be unlocked in front of the young protesters. Political powers will try to form themselves and find a way to express the will of the Sudanese people.
Sudan's protests began in December because of fuel and food shortages but quickly morphed into demands for Bashir to step down. A military coup finally removed him 11 days ago.
Sudan's military authorities said Bashir was moved last week to a federal prison and many of his loyalists were detained or replaced.