This morning, Hollywood actor George Clooney, along with a group of congressmen, religious leaders and other cultural icons, assembled before the Sudanese embassy in Washington DC. They were there to speak out about the humanitarian crisis in the region, and protest Sudanese President Bashir’s attempts to prevent international aid from reaching those who need it.
After giving a series of short speeches, the protestors stepped onto embassy grounds. They were told that they would be arrested if they did not leave. After three warnings, they were arrested and removed to a nearby police van.
Clooney seems to be taking it in stride. E! reports that following his release this afternoon, he joked with reporters, “It is on my permanent record. And you know that that picture’s going to be all over everything.” He also explained that he hopes his arrest will shine a greater light on the problems being faced by the people of Sudan:
“Listen, what we’ve been trying to achieve today is we’re trying to bring attention to an ongoing emergency,” he continued. “Our job right now is to try to bring attention to it, and one of those ways was, apparently, get arrested.”
“I guess we’re not allowed to hang out at the Sudanese Embassy,” said Clooney’s father and fellow arrestee, Nick Clooney. “I didn’t know that.”
“I didn’t know that either,” George said, returning the conversation to his recent trip to Sudan. “We just came back, the real danger of course is there are people dying everyday there…Tens of thousands of people are going to die of starvation. That’s man-made. This isn’t a famine, this is a man-made tragedy.
“You never know if you’re going to accomplish anything, all we’re trying to do is bring attention to a moment. We hope this brings attention to it.”
So far, reactions to the arrest range from admiration to accusing the actor of cheap publicity stunts.
AP Photo/Cliff Owen