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Sudan's Bashir defiant

SUDAN'S president rallied thousands of spear-waving Arab tribesmen in Darfur yesterday in his latest show of defiance against international moves to arrest him for war crimes.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir vowed to confront Western "colonizers" as he addressed the gathering of Rizeigat tribespeople - a group including clans that have produced some of the fiercest pro-government militias in the Darfur conflict.

His emotional speech came amid signs of a growing standoff between Sudan and the West following the International Criminal Court's decision to issue an arrest warrant for Bashir to face charges of masterminding atrocities in Darfur.

Tensions have been mounting in Khartoum, where state media have printed regular attacks on aid groups, accusing them of spying, saying they support the ICC warrant.

Around 100 protesters gathered outside France's embassy in the capital yesterday and some threw stones at the building, said French diplomatic sources.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday stepped up pressure by saying Bashir would be responsible for every death caused by the resulting drop in humanitarian aid.

The vast crowd of Rizeigat tribespeople swore a mass oath of allegiance to the president at the rally.


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