Sudan protesters mark anniversary of uprisings that ousted two military rulers in the past and want current military government gone. Photo/Reuters

Pro-democracy activists in Sudan have marched against the army and paramilitaries as the civilian opposition marked a key anniversary in the decades-old struggle against military rule with new protests.

April 6 is a symbolic date for Sudan's civilian opposition - the anniversary of uprisings in 1985 and 2019 that ended up ousting two leaders who had seized power in coups.

On Thursday, marchers chanted "Soldiers back to barracks!" and "The people want civilian rule!", as well as chants calling for the dissolution of the Janjaweed militia.

Accused of committing war crimes in Darfur in 2003, the Janjaweed were run by Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, the second in command behind Sudan's military ruler Abdel Fattah al Burhan.

In anticipation of demonstrations, the authorities had declared Thursday a non-working day.

Witnesses reported a large military presence on the streets of the capital Khartoum since Wednesday.

The fresh protests also came on the day the signing of a deal between the military and politicians to restore the country’s democratic transition was supposed to take place but postponed due to disagreement between military factions. This has fueled calls for more demonstrations by activists.

A coup in October 2021 led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan had derailed the transition to civilian-led rule that began following the 2019 ouster of long-ruling general Omar al-Bashir.

Security reforms are a key point of contention in negotiations held over the past weeks aimed at building on a preliminary accord reached in December to install a civilian government.

The signing ceremony scheduled for Thursday has been pushed back again "due to a resumption of talks between soldiers... on April 1 and 6", according to a statement by the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), a civilian bloc.

They said progress had been made on several points but one final question remained, after the ceremony was also delayed last week.

The most contentious issue is the integration of the Rapid Support Force into the military. The force, led by powerful Gen. Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, grew out of former Janjaweed militias that carried out a crackdown in Darfur over the past two decades.

TRT Afrika and agencies