Actor Clooney freed after Sudan rally arrest

Hollywood star was detained in Washington for protesting against Sudan's alleged blockade of aid to border area.

    George Clooney was protesting against Sudan's blockage of humanitarian aid to border area with South Sudan [Reuters]

    Hollywood actor George Clooney was released hours after being arrested and handcuffed on Friday in a human rights protest outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington.

    Clooney, his father Nick and other anti-Sudan activists, ignored three police warnings to leave the embassy grounds on Friday and were subsequently led away to a security van in handcuffs, a journalist covering the demonstration said.

    "We need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world"

    - George Clooney, actor

    Clooney was protesting Sudan's efforts to block humanitarian aid from reaching a volatile border region where its army is fighting rebels aligned with South Sudan.

    He had been widely expected to provoke police into arresting him.

    "We need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world," Clooney told reporters just before his arrest.

    "The second thing we are 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. That's all we ask."

    Darfur comparison

    Clooney tells Al Jazeera about his recent visit
    to South Kordofan and the urgent need for aid

    Clooney told a US senate hearing on Thursday that Washington must get tough on Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's president, and two other Sudanese officials indicted by the International Criminal Court as part of an investigation into atrocities in Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004.

    The incident took place just a day after the actor and political activist had met with US President Barack Obama to urge action to end the humanitarian crisis in Sudan.

    "What we've been trying to achieve today is to bring attention to an ongoing emergency once," he said after his release from jail. "We've got a six week timetable before the rainy season starts and a lot of people die. One of those ways was to get arrested."

    Clooney told reporters that it was his first arrest, "and let's hope it's my last."

    Activists have drawn parallels between the current crisis and the violence almost a decade ago in the western region of Darfur, where Khartoum sparked international condemnation by violently suppressing a rebellion in a conflict that the United Nations estimates killed 300,000 people.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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