WASHINGTON—Actor George Clooney, his father, as well as four members of Congress were among those arrested Friday at a protest in front of the Sudanese Embassy organized by United to End Genocide and co-sponsored by the Armenian National Committee of America, among others.
Also arrested for civil disobedience were representatives Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), James Moran (D-Va.), John Olver (D-Mass.) and Al Green (D-Texas), as well as Tom Andrews, President of United to End Genocide and John Prendergast of the Enough Project and the president of the NAACP, Ben Jealous. Also participating in the protest was Martin Luther King III.
“We were pleased by the broad public awareness generated by George Clooney and all of the participants in today’s protest, which we were proud to cosponsor with United to End Genocide”, said ANCA Government Affairs Director Kate Nahapetian. “As Americans of Armenian heritage, who continue to bear witness to the dangerous precedent set by Turkey’s still unpunished crimes of genocide and exile against the Armenian nation, we look forward to helping to translate today’s energy into concrete action by the U.S. and the international community to stop the killing, punish the perpetrators and serve justice for the victims.”
Nahapetian led a group of Armenian-Americans who joined the more than 100 activists to protest the Sudanese government’s continued blockade of humanitarian aid to the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile, where half a million residents are on the brink of starvation.
The ANCA was a co-sponsor of the protest, along with Jewish World Watch, Amnesty International, the NAACP, STAND and a slew of other national organizations. Since July of last year, the ANCA has worked with members of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and United to End Genocide to raise alarm bells regarding the Sudanese Government’s attacks against the civilians of the Nuba mountains – urging Congress to take immediate action to stop the killing.
The Sudanese Armed Forces are conducting a campaign of indiscriminate bombing against civilians of the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, causing wide-spread destruction. This combined with the blockade of humanitarian aid has created an urgent humanitarian crisis in the region.
The protest began earlier in the morning with a rally at Sheridan Circle and then moved to the Sudanese Embassy, where Clooney, who testified earlier this week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, discussed his recent trip to the Nuba Mountains.
Clooney praised the activism of the local Nuba Mountain residents who are calling for the immediate arrest of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Darfur.
Rep. McGovern has introduced legislation that calls on increasing sanctions on Sudan and engaging countries that have influence on Sudan, among them Turkey. The ANCA will be launching an online action campaign to secure Congressional support for the resolution.