Clooney arrested in Sudan protest
Actor George Clooney and several members of the US Congress were arrested today outside Sudan's embassy as they staged a protest to demand that government forces end an offensive in South Kordofan.entertainment Updated: Mar 16, 2012 21:37 IST
Actor George Clooney and several members of the US Congress were arrested on Friday outside Sudan's embassy as they staged a protest to demand that government forces end an offensive in South Kordofan.
The Descendants star and fellow activists defied warnings to leave the grounds of the mission in Washington's Embassy Row, leading officers to escort them in plastic handcuffs to a waiting police van.
Clooney, a longtime activist for human rights in Sudan, met Thursday with US President Barack Obama after paying a clandestine visit to South Kordofan, where aid groups say 250,000 people are at risk of imminent food shortages.
"We need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world -- immediately," Clooney said to cheering supporters shortly before his arrest.
"The second thing we are here to ask is a very simple thing -- it's for the government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children," Clooney said.
"Stop raping them, and stop starving them. That's all we ask," he said.
Clooney, speaking earlier before the US Congress and a think-tank, said that he saw hundreds of people fleeing in terror to the hills and into caves in South Kordofan due to the constant buzzing of bomb-dropping cargo planes.
Four members of the House of Representatives -- Al Green, Jim McGovern, Jim Moran and John Olver -- were also arrested at the protest, along with human rights activists and religious leaders.
South Sudan became independent in July under a peace deal that ended two decades of war, initially raising hopes overseas for a peaceful resolution to the country's long-running conflicts.
But fresh violence broke out soon afterward in South Kordofan as the government fights insurgents tied to the former rebels who now rule South Sudan.