George Clooney was arrested on Friday for civil disobedience while protesting outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington D.C., along with scores of other activists, including his father and several Congressmen.
The 50-year-old actor is a United Nations "Messenger of Peace." He has visited the war-torn African nation several times and spent about a week there earlier this month to raise awareness of regional violence. He once contracted malaria during his travels.
Clooney, his father Nick, and other protesters such as Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), Congressman Al Green (D-TX), Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) and Congressman John Olver (D-MA), Martin Luther King III, NAACP President Ben Jealous and other human rights and faith leaders were detained after being warned not to cross a police line outside the embassy.
They had spoken on the steps of the embassy before hundreds of people about the violence in Sudan. Police asked them to leave the scene and detained those who refused to comply. Clooney was led away with his hands bound by a law enforcement officer and placed inside a van (see video, above).
"They were protesting the violence committed by the government of Sudan on its own innocent men, women and children," Clooney's spokesperson said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com. "They were demanding they allow humanitarian aid into the country before it becomes the largest humanitarian crisis in the world."
US Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said authorities transported the demonstrators they arrested to a police station for processing.
"They are being charged with Disorderly Crossing of a Police Line," he said in a statement obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com
The protesters say Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, is responsible for provoking a humanitarian crisis and blocking food and aid from entering the Nuba Mountains in the county's border region with South Sudan.
Relations between residents of Sudan, which is mostly Muslim, and the oil-rich South Sudan, whose people are mostly Christian, have soured since a 2005 peace deal and violence in the region has risen, as have disputes over oil production and distribution. The peace agreement ended the country's longest civil war, which lasted for about 20 years and killed more than 2 million people.
On Wednesday, Clooney spoke to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the Satellite Sentinel Project, a group he co-founded that aims to raise awareness about the bloodshed in the region by capturing satellite images of "possible threats to civilians, detect bombed and razed villages or note other evidence of pending mass violence," according to its website.
"What is most striking and most devastating again is the absolutely vulnerability of a certain group of people," Clooney told reporters before his arrest.
"It is ethnic in nature and it is again, things that the Geneva Convention considers war crimes, which is indiscriminately bombing innocent civilians," he said. "We have satellite imagery to prove it, we have eyewitnesses to prove it, we have tons of reports and evidence to prove it and we also have ? film of it to prove it."