Thousands rally in support of Sudan president


Khartoum (Sudan) : A crowd of several thousand supporters rallied in the Sudan capital Khartoum Thursday to express solidarity with President Omar al-Bashir, a day after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against him for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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An aid worker in Khartoum, on condition of anonymity, said that “hundreds of thousands” were demonstrating in support of al-Bashir on the streets of the capital Thursday morning.

In footage of the rally broadcast on the Arab satellite channel al-Jazeera, al-Bashir appeared dancing and waving his trademark cane in the air in front of the crowd.

Al-Bashir earlier told the Sudanese Cabinet that the Netherlands-based court warrant was “not only against Sudan, but against all countries that reject the policy of dictation”.

“Some countries are trying to control the resources of the continent,” he said.

Al-Bashir said that Sudan would respond to Wednesday’s arrest warrant “wisely” and would not take any decision that would endanger peace talks between the government and rebel groups in Darfur.

A second aid worker in Khartoum said that demonstrators had thrown stones at the UN Development Programme’s office and the US Embassy in Khartoum on Wednesday, but that these were “minor incidents”.

She said she expected larger demonstrations Friday, after afternoon prayers.

Sudan Wednesday ordered 10 international humanitarian groups to leave northern Darfur in retaliation for the international court’s arrest warrant.

The groups include, among others, Oxfam, the International Rescue Committee, Doctors Without Borders and CARE International.