Clooney, Congressmen Arrested at Protest for Sudan

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WASHINGTON -- Actor George Clooney was handcuffed and arrested Friday, during a protest at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Clooney has been very outspoken about the humanitarian crisis in northern Africa, and was in the nation's capital this week to raise awareness.

The superstar led a protest outside the embassy, calling on Sudan President Omar al-Bashir to stop the violence against his nation's people. He was with his father, several members of Congress, and other human rights activists.

Police asked the group three times not to cross the police line in front of the embassy.

When they didn't comply, police took Clooney and other protestors into custody.

Also arrested were Clooney's father Nick Clooney, Martin Luther King III, NAACP President Ben Jealous, Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast, former Rep. Tom Andrews, and Reps. Jim McGovern, D-MA, Al Green, D-TX, Jim Moran, D-VA., and John Olver D-MA.

Clooney's Efforts

They're a world away from the glitz and glamor of Tinsel Town, and yet for Clooney, the Nuban people living near the border of Sudan and South Sudan have become near and dear to his heart.

The region is caught in the middle of violence by the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum against a mostly black Christian population.

Clooney traveled there to document what he calls "war crimes," which include bombing attacks, burned-down villages, and ethnic killings.  

"For every one of those innocent people that are hurt, it's us that's hurt," he said.

U.S. officials warn the situation could worsen within months, leaving about a half million people at risk of starvation.

But the conflict also has global implications. China relies on imported oil from South Sudan, which has shut off supplies to the region.

"China, who has a $20 billion oil infrastructure built in Sudan, is now not getting a dime," Clooney said. "So they're having to go out on the open market and buy more oil, which costs them money, costs us money, raises the price of gas."

International Outcry

Clooney is calling on the international community, and Washington in particular, to act now to save potentially hundreds of thousands of lives

CBN News asked the actor whether he thought President Obama was doing enough, in light of his predecessor former President George W. Bush's record on African aid and programs.

"He's been amazing when he's been able to get himself to get in and roll up his sleeves," Clooney said.

"Listen, there's an Arab Spring, there's Iran, there's a lot of stuff going on in the world. It's hard to keep the focus for a long period of time on this, but that's what our job is - to keep reminding people of this," he added.

Clooney credits the work of Christian ministries for offering hope, healing, and relief to those suffering in Sudan.    

"They lead the work a lot of times here," he told CBN News. "When we were at the Darfur rally it was ministers, it was a lot of people of faith that had been working very hard on this. So in some ways I'm trying to honor whatever part I can in the hard work that they do."

*Originally aired on March 16, 2012.

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John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Anchor

John Jessup serves as the main news anchor for CBN, a position he assumed after 10 years reporting for the network in Washington, D.C. His work in broadcast news has earned him several awards in reporting, producing, and coordinating elections coverage. Follow John on Twitter @JohnCBNNews and "like" him at