Hollywood movie star George Clooney has been arrested at Sudan's embassy in Washington during a protest against the country's blockade of humanitarian aid.
Clooney, his father Nick and other anti-Sudan activists, ignored three police warnings to leave the embassy grounds on Friday and were subsequently led away to a security van in handcuffs, a journalist covering the demonstration said.
Clooney was protesting Sudan's efforts to block humanitarian aid from reaching a volatile border region where its army is fighting rebels aligned with South Sudan.
He had been widely expected to provoke police into arresting him.
"We need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world," Clooney told reporters just before his arrest.
"We need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world"
- George Clooney, actor
"The second thing we are here to ask 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."
Clooney told a US senate hearing on Thursday that Washington must get tough on Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's president, and two other Sudanese officials indicted by the International Criminal Court as part of an investigation into atrocities in Darfur from August 2003 to March 2004.
Clooney, who on Wednesday was a guest at the White House banquet in honour of British Prime Minister David Cameron, and several others were expected to post bail and walk free later on Friday, a spokesman for the protest organizers said.
"We gave them each $50 for bail," said Matt Brown of the Enough Project, an activist group which helped to organize the
protest as part of a "Day of Action" to highlight the situation in Sudan's volatile South Kordofan and Blue Nile provinces.
Activists have drawn parallels between the current crisis and the violence almost a decade ago in the western region of Darfur, where Khartoum sparked international condemnation by violently suppressing a rebellion in a conflict that the United Nations estimates killed 300,000 people.
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|Timothy V. Gatto|