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The United States had been trying to mend relations with Sudan after years of tension with Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 coup and hosted Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who stayed until 1996.

"We are all celebrating in one way or another", said David Atem, who fled Sudan and came to Winnipeg in 2001.

Naidoo said: "On this historic day for Sudan, the world must first and foremost recognize the unique courage, creativity and bravery Sudanese people have shown in demanding their rights".

Thousands kept up their sit-in outside the Khartoum military headquarters overnight and into the morning, despite the curfew.

Bashir is facing an arrest warrant over allegations of genocide in Sudan's Darfur region during an insurgency that began in 2003 and led to the death of an estimated 300,000 people. But he declined to provide more details or say where the president of 30 years is being held.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which has spearheaded the four months of demonstrations against al-Bashir, denounced the military's statements as a "farce". "The forces that are seeking reforms have specific demands on following the democratic path that will solve the corruption issue and other problems that resulted from the rule of the salvation government [of former President Omar Bashir]", Youssef said.

The council, which is now running Sudan under Defence Minister Mohammed Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, said it expects a pre-election transition period it announced on Thursday to last two years at most or much less if chaos can be avoided. "We are not greedy for power".

Ibn Auf said on Thursday that Bashir was being detained in a "safe place" and a military council - which it was later announced he is heading - would now run the country.

Organizers of the demonstration have said they'll keep up the campaign.

Zein Abedeen did not indicate at the press conference that the army would move against the protesters, but made vague remarks how he would "come out. sit on the grass" and talk with the demonstrators.

The SPA's call for civilian rule has been backed by other voices in the worldwide community, with USA chief Antonio Guterres calling for a transition in accordance with the "democratic aspirations" of the Sudanese people and the European Union urging the army to implement a "swift" handover.

Ibn Auf said Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Adelrahman Burhan will now head the transitional council.

Karim is skeptical that Sudan's new leadership will make real changes, due to their links to the same atrocities Bashir is accused of.

But the rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA-AW) fighting government forces in Darfur denounced what it called a "palace coup".

But in the eastern cities of Kasala and Port Sudan, the releases failed to materialise, prompting protesters to storm NISS buildings, according to witnesses.