Clooney Arrested Outside Sudanese Embassy

Clooney, others demand immediate action to stop Sudan's use of food as a weapon.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    George Clooney, his father and several others spent about three hours in custody Friday following their arrest at a protest at the Embassy of Sudan. News4's Tom Sherwood reports. (Published Friday, Mar 16, 2012)

    George Clooney was processed and released by about 2:15 p.m. following his arrest at a protest outside the Embassy of Sudan Friday morning.

    Police arrested the actor and 17 others, including Martin Luther King III. At about 10:45 a.m., Clooney allowed an officer to secure his hands with a zip tie. With his hands behind his back, he was led from the embassy on Massachusetts Avenue NW and put into the back of a police car.

    "I Guess We're Not Allowed to Hang Out at the Sudanese Embassy"

    [DC] "I Guess We're Not Allowed to Hang Out at the Sudanese Embassy"
    Actor George Clooney speaks after he was processed and released following his arrest at a protest at the Embassy of Sudan. (Published Friday, Mar 16, 2012)

    The Secret Service confirmed that 18 protesters were arrested, including Clooney, King, NAACP President Ben Jealous, Rep Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.).

    Clooney's father, journalist Nick Clooney, was also arrested.

    The protesters went to the embassy to demand immediate action to stop Sudan's blockage of food and other humanitarian aid.

    “We’re trying to bring attention to an ongoing emergency, one that’s got about a six-week timetable before the rainy season starts and a lot of people are going to die from it,” Clooney said after his release. “So our job right now is to try to bring attention to it. One of those ways was apparently to get arrested. I guess we’re not allowed to hang out at the Sudanese Embassy.”

    Police asked the protesters to move, telling them they would be arrested after the third ignored request.

    "I’m just trying to raise attention, because attention is the only way these things ever happen," Clooney said at the protest, prior to his arrest.

    Sudan needs to "stop randomly killing its own people. Stop raping them and stop starving them. That’s all we ask," he said. "At the very least, [they need] some humanitarian aid. Let your senators, let your congressmen, let your president know."

    Half a million people in Sudan's Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions risk starvation because President Omar-al-Bashir is blocking food and supplies from reaching them.

    "It’s about to start raining, and once it starts raining there, thousands of people are going to die," Clooney said.

    Once in custody, he and the others were taken to the Second District Police for processing.  All 18 are being charged with crossing a police line.

    After processing, ink from fingerprinting was visible on Clooney's thumb. He said it was his first arrest, "and let's hope it's my last."

    “Paid a fine, it was fun,” Clooney said. “We were all in a cell together. It was nice.”

    On Thursday, Clooney, along with John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, testified at a hearing titled Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. That evening, Clooney attended a state dinner in honor of British Prime Minister David Cameron at the White House.

    Clooney has traveled to the region six times in his attempt to bring attention to Darfur and Sudan. On his most recent trip, he and his film crew came under fire. He told the Today Show's Ann Curry on Wednesday that the rockets overhead were "close enough to feel it."