The Common Good

Updated: Clooney Arrested at DC Protest (Video)

Photo by Sandi Villarreal, Sojourners
George Clooney and father, Nick, speak at Sudan protest. (Photo by Sandi Villarreal, Sojourners)

Actor George Clooney was arrested along with his father and several U.S. congressmen during a protest outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C. Friday morning.

Clooney and his father, Nick, spoke along with a delegation of faith leaders, politicians and nonprofit heads outside the embassy before being arrested for trespassing.

Clooney has been in Washington, D.C., much of the week advocating on behalf of Sudan--where he recently visited with Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast. He recorded his findings there, including the bombing of civilians in Sudan's Nuba Mountains. Clooney says Sudanese officials are blocking humanitarian aid to the region, effectively starving its people.

"Immediately, we need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world," Clooney said Friday. "The second thing we're here to ask ...  is for the government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children. Stop raping them and stop starving them."

Clooney testified before Congress Wednesday, speaking about the tragedy and and calling for the end of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's blockade on humanitarian aid.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) introduced legislation last week that calls for ending human rights abuses and promoting democratic change in Sudan. The Sudan Peace, Security and Accountability Act of 2012 would require the administration to create a comprehensive strategy for Sudan, adress the humanitarian crisis, engage with other countries like China--which holds oil stake in Sudan, sanction governments that support Sudanese leadership, and create benchmarks for removing sanctions once the attacks end.

McGovern and Prendergast, along with congressmen Al Green (D-Texas), Jim Moran (D-Va.) and  John Olver (D-Mass.); Martin Luther King III, NAACP President Ben Jealous and other religious and activist leaders also were arrested Friday after protesting on the Sudanese Embassy grounds. 

On Thursday in an interview with CBN, Clooney lauded the work of Christian organizations in aiding the crisis in Sudan.

"They lead the work a lot of times here," he told CBN. "When we were at the Darfur rally it was ministers. It was a lot of people of faith that had been working very hard on this....So in some ways I'm trying to honor whatever part I can in the hard work that they do because I'm a big fan of all of the work that's being done," he added. "And people really put their hearts and souls in it."

Clooney also credited CBN founder  Pat Robertson for speaking out against the Sudanese government, saying,  "When Bono was doing his 'One' campaign, that's when I met Pat Robertson. I said to Bono, 'Who do you have from sort of the Christian world?' And he was like, 'I don't know.' And I said, 'What about Pat Robertson?'..."So I called him (Robertson) up, and I said, 'Listen, we're not going to agree on too many things, but there's no two sides to this issue, and you and I can work together on this. And he said great. And he's been terrific on this."

 

Sandi Villarreal is Associate Web Editor at Sojourners. Follow Sandi on Twitter @Sandi.

Nicole Higgins is an adminitrative assistant at Sojourners. Nicole was born in Jamaica but grew up in the central Florida area, and later studied psychology at Mercer University in Georgia. Most recently, she completed her master's degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, studying urban work and international development. Follow Nicole on Twitter @RareBlackBirds.

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