George Clooney arrested in planned protest at Sudanese embassy16 mars 2012
George Clooney was today taken away in handcuffs after being arrested at a protest outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington.
The 50-year-old actor, his father Nick and a number of other protesters had been given three verbal warnings by police not to cross a police line outside the embassy before being taken into custody.
With his hands cuffed behind his back in white zip-ties, Clooney addressed the plight of 'innocent children' in Sudan.
'Stop raping them and stop starving them,' he said. 'That's all that we ask.'
The protestors accuse Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, of provoking a humanitarian crisis and blocking food and aid from entering the Nuba Mountains in the county's border region with South Sudan.
As the Hollywood star was led into a police van a supporter shouted, 'Thank you, George!'
Shortly before his arrest, the academy award winning actor said: 'We are here really to ask two very simple questions,' according a report on CNN.
'The first question is something immediate - and immediately we need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.'
Clooney added that the second thing he was there for, 'is for the government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children. Stop raping them and stop starving them.'
Others protestors, including Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia and NAACP President Ben Jealous, were also arrested.
The group had held a sign that read: ‘Sudan: Stop Weapons of Mass Starvation’ as they walked to the site.
They were all handcuffed and placed into a U.S. Secret Service van.
Clooney is in Washington after returning from a tour of Sudan on Tuesday.
On Wednesday he testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the subject of violence in the region.
He also Clooney met President Barack Obama at the White House to express his concerns for the people of Sudan.
Clooney called on US officials to out pressure on the Chinese government to force the government of Sudan to open the southern region of the country to relief efforts ahead of the rainy season, during which large numbers of the region's inhabitants could face starvation.
According to Clooney, President Obama promised to press Chinese president Hu Jintao on the issue at an upcoming meeting.
After the meeting the actor said that he hoped to draw more attention to the issue and is impressed with President Obama's personal engagement on it.
The actor also said that if action is not taken in the next three to four months ‘we're going to have a real humanitarian disaster.’
Inspired by his broadcaster father Clooney has spent years supporting humanitarian causes and political campaigns including fighting for justice in Sudan, defending gay rights and backing Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
The prominent liberal came out against the Iraq war in 2003 and has even had to rule himself out of running for president arguing he had taken too many drugs and slept with too many women to run for the White House.
The Hollywood actor’s main focus, however, has been campaigning to intervene in the civil war in the Sudan.
The conflict began in 2003 when two rebel groups in Darfur took up arms against the Sudanese government.
Clooney works with the Save Darfur advocacy group, who fight for international intervention in the Darfur genocide and in 2006, after a 5-day visit to Darfur, Clooney spoke out against the atrocities – urging greater US and NATO involvement.
Later that year he testified before the UN Security Council, urging that UN peacekeepers enter Darfur.
In his recent YouTube video released to highlight the African conflict, George Clooney makes an illegal and dangerous trip to the southern reaches of Sudan, where the actor witnesses what an American activist said was likely a Chinese-made missile sail overhead.
Clooney's second four-minute video highlights attacks on civilians in Sudan's Nuba Mountains, a region that U.S. officials say could soon suffer a severe hunger crisis.
In the video, which he wrote and directed, a man from the Nuba community is seen pushing Clooney to take cover after a rocket sails overhead. Mothers carrying children and young children lugging water jugs can be seen moving toward the rock caves.
The actor was questioned about why he would hold out hope for cooperation from China on Sudan. Clooney said energy-hungry China, which receives about 6 percent of its oil from Sudan, has an economic incentive to work to bring peace to the region.
Oil-rich South Sudan and Sudan, the keeper of the pipelines, have been at odds over oil and profits. Exports have stopped, putting pressure on oil prices worldwide.
'Suddenly, this affects their economy,' Clooney said of China. 'This is a moment we can appeal to China.'
During his advocacy work in Sudan, Clooney helped found the Satellite Sentinel Project, which uses satellite imagery to monitor activities of war.
The Clooney video, produced with the advocacy group Enough Project, shows graphic footage of a boy who lost both hands in an attack. It also shows Clooney speaking to a child who recently had a bullet removed from his body.
Clooney asks one man during a conversation: 'This is simply trying to clear people out ethnically because of the color of their skin?' The Nuba man responds that Sudan wants to move black Nubans out and put Arabs in.
Sudan has refused to allow aid agencies into the region. Nancy Lindborg, an official with the U.S. Agency for International Development, told a Senate committee that Clooney testified before on Wednesday that 250,000 people are on the brink of a famine.
Clooney said in Washington it was imperative for the world to move swiftly to open a humanitarian corridor to those in need.
'When the rainy season starts, it is impossible to get through,' Clooney said. 'There is a very, very great possibility of a lot of people starving in the next few months.'
THE HUMANITARIAN SUDAN CRISIS
More than two decades of fighting in the Sudan region gave way last year to an agreement to create the world's newest country - South Sudan.
It seceded from Sudan last July amid grand hopes. But what was once a cordial relationship has deteriorated into border clashes, deadly fighting and a stand-off on oil.
Sudan has refused to allow aid agencies into the region, with estimates that 250,000 people are on the brink of a famine.
Sudan President Omar al-Bashir is also wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court for alleged killings and rapes committed in Darfur.
That region has been in turmoil since 2003, when ethnic African rebels accusing the Arab-dominated Sudanese government of discrimination took up arms against it.
The Khartoum government is accused of retaliating by unleashing Arab militias on civilians - a charge the government denies.
The United Nations estimates 300,000 people have died and 2.7million have been displaced.
Oil-rich South Sudan and Sudan, the keeper of the pipelines, have also been at odds over oil and profits. Exports have stopped, putting pressure on oil prices worldwide.
China receives about 6 per cent of its oil from Sudan, and with that source shut off, must go elsewhere to buy oil. – Daily Mail