Actor George Clooney arrested in Sudan protest | News | DW | 16.03.2012
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Actor George Clooney arrested in Sudan protest

George Clooney, his father and several US politicians were arrested during a protest at the Sudanese embassy in Washington on Friday, but were later released. Clooney has long campaigned for human rights in Sudan.

Hollywood movie star George Clooney was detained outside Sudan's embassy in Washington Friday, along with a string of other high-profile protesters.

Clooney was leading a protest against the government in Khartoum's decision to block food aid from reaching a volatile border region where hundreds of thousands of people don't have enough to eat.

They were released three hours later after paying a fine of 75 euros ($100) for crossing a police line.

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

Clooney, his father Nick, and other activists marched towards the steps of the Sudanese embassy in Washington, ignoring three police requests to vacate the premises. They were subsequently arrested, but were expected to be released on bail relatively swiftly.

From South Kordofan to Washington

The television and film actor recently made a clandestine visit to South Kordofan, where aid groups say a quarter of a million people are at risk of imminent food shortages. In recent days, since returning to the US, he has met with US President Barack Obama, spoken about his trip in the US Senate, and attended a state dinner for visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Several other US celebrities, civil liberties advocates and members of Congress also took part in the high-profile protest.

South Kordofan is on the border region with newly-independent South Sudan. Government forces from Sudan have been attacking rebels operating in the region supposedly aligned to the South - but Clooney said many of the air raids were hitting civilian targets instead. Clooney also said the Sudanese government had stopped food aid deliveries to the impoverished region as a result of the unrest.

msh/ng (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)