George Clooney arrested for demonstrating against Sudanese crisis
Posted by Xeno on March 17, 2012
Actor George Clooney was a free man Friday afternoon following his arrest in Washington during a protest at the Sudanese Embassy, just two days after dining with the president at a White House state dinner and testifying before Congress about a mounting humanitarian crisis in the African country.
Also arrested were two Democratic members of Congress — Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern and Virginia Rep. Jim Moran — Clooney’s father, Nick, NAACP president Ben Jealous and Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
The men were arrested by the Secret Service, which protects the embassies in the District of Columbia, and were charged with disorderly crossing of a police line, a Secret Service spokesman said. If convicted, the charge will likely result in a small fine.
Shortly before the arrest, Clooney spoke against the violence in Sudan.
He said he appeared in front of the embassy to ask “the government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children, stop raping them, stop starving them,” according to a video posted online by MSNBC.
Clooney and his fellow protesters were transported to the Metropolitan Police Department’s 2nd District for processing and were held in the same cell.
“It was really rough, you can imagine,” he joked. “Have you ever been in a cell with these guys?”
In high spirits and still speaking passionately about the Sudan crisis, Clooney said this was his first time being arrested.
“And let’s hope it’s my last,” he said.
Clooney had appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, testifying that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the border region between Sudan and South Sudan, which won its independence from Sudan in 2011. But violence has persisted along the border of the two countries, and Clooney argued that it is not getting enough attention, acknowledging that Americans have “misery fatigue” after wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with violence in Syria, Libya and elsewhere.
Gutow, speaking before he was arrested, sharply criticized “the inhumane cruelty” of Sudan President Omar Ahmed Hassan al-Bashir.
“With one hand he assaults his own people while with the other he holds back those who would seek to help,” Gutow said. …