U.S. Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney has been arrested in Washington outside the Sudanese embassy while protesting the situation in Sudan.
Police Friday detained Clooney, several members of Congress, and religious leaders and activists, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s oldest son. The group ignored three police warnings to leave the embassy grounds and were taken into custody.
Clooney said humanitarian aid needs to be allowed immediately into Sudan before it becomes, what he called, “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.” He said the government in Khartoum needs to “stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children” as well as to “stop raping them and stop starving them.”
Clooney was released several hours later after paying a $100 fine.
Demonstrator Selma Talhagebril , a 26-year-old from Khartoum, Sudan, said it is “unacceptable what is happening in Sudan.” She also called for a resolution to the crisis, saying what occurred in Sudan would never happen in a Western country.
Clooney testified before Congress this week on the continued violence under Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.
Clooney has been a vocal advocate for peace in Sudan for years and recently returned from a trip to the country. Speaking before a Senate panel Wednesday, he warned of a humanitarian crisis in the border area between Sudan and newly independent South Sudan.
“We witnessed hundreds of people running to hills to hide in caves for their safety. And that happens everyday. These people are not the ‘cave people of Nuba.’ They actually live on farms and they have the oldest society in the world and yet now they are forced to hide in caves. It is a campaign of murder and fear and displacement and starvation. And that is also a fact.”
Oil-rich South Sudan seceded from Sudan last July and violence over the oil revenue has raged along the border since then.
Clooney urged the United States to engage China, a major buyer of South Sudan’s oil, to help deal with the humanitarian crisis in the region.