George Clooney was arrested Friday for participating in a staged protest outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C., organized to bring attention to that country’s president, Omar al-Bashir, provoking a crisis with his blockade of humanitarian aide.
Regarding the situation, Clooney, 50, had said earlier in interviews that if steps were not taken in the next three to four months, “We’re going to have a real humanitarian disaster.” He also said he is impressed with President Barack Obama’s personal engagement on the situation in Sudan. On Wednesday, the actor testified before Congress about the “campaign of murder” in Sudan.
As he was being taken away Friday morning, after authorities warned him three times to leave, Clooney said, “This 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,” reports USA Today.
Handcuffed and arrested along with him were his father, journalist Nick Clooney; U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (Dem.) of Virginia; NAACP President Ben Jealous, among others, reports the Associated Press. They were then placed in a Secret Service van.
Max Milien, spokesman for the Secret Service, told PEOPLE the actor was being cooperative. “He’s being charged currently with disorderly crossing of a police line, which is a misdemeanor and he will be transported to the second district of the Metropolitan Police Department for processing,” Milien said.
A rep for the actor released a statement after the arrest, stating, “They were protesting the violence committed by the government of Sudan on its own innocent men, women and children. They were demanding they allow humanitarian aid into the country before it becomes the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”
The arrest was not unexpected, Earlier in the day, The Washington Post reported, “By standing on the embassy’s private property, they’re likely to get cuffed, arrested and charged.”
By Stephen M. Silverman