Kevork Djansezian

Clooney arrested at Sudan protest

THE actor George Clooney was arrested yesterday after taking part in a protest outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington.

With his father, Nick, two US congressmen and three other activists, Clooney was handcuffed and led away after ignoring warnings not to cross a police line as they sought to draw attention to a growing "humanitarian crisis" in the African state.

The group was protesting against the Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, whom they accuse of blocking food and aid from reaching the Nuba Mountains in the county's border region with South Sudan.

Clooney, an advocate of United to End Genocide, one of the groups involved in the protest, said: "We need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world."

"We also ask the government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children. Stop raping them and stop starving them. That's all we ask."

The actor has made repeated trips to the western region of Darfur and made a documentary on the region with his father, a well-known American radio DJ.

Clooney, who was a guest at the White House banquet in honour of David Cameron on Wednesday, and the others were released last night.

"We gave them each $50 for bail," said Matt Brown of the Enough Project, an activist group that helped to organise the protest as part of a "day of action" to highlight the situation in the volatile South Kordofan and Blue Nile provinces of Sudan.

Activists have drawn parallels between the current crisis and the violence in Darfur almost a decade ago, when an estimated 300,000 people were killed when the government suppressed a rebellion.


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