George Clooney released after arrest at Sudan protest in Washington


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The Independent US

Hollywood star George Clooney and his father were released tonight following their arrest at a demonstration in Washington.

The actor and his father were earlier handcuffed and arrested alongside politicians and faith leaders for civil disobedience after repeatedly ignoring police warnings to leave the Sudanese embassy grounds.

Clooney, who is president of 'United to End Genocide', an activist organisation that campaigns against mass atrocities across the world, was protesting against the genocide in Sudan which it is claimed threatens 500,000 lives.

Democratic US Representative Jim Moran of Virginia, NAACP president Ben Jealous and Martin Luther King III, son of the civil rights leader were also arrested alongside Clooney and his father Nick.

Their hands were tied with plastic cables and they were put into a police van.

George Clooney spoke at the rally outside the Sudanese embassy to activists and afterwards protesters were warned by police to leave. When they refused they were arrested.

The protests were directed at Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir who they accuse of provoking a humanitarian crisis in the country by preventing aid from entering the Nuba Mountains in the country's border region.

The actor had recently secretly travelled into the Nuba Mountains in Sudan, where his group apparently witnessed a rocket attack.

Clooney appeared in a YouTube clip of his secret trip into the southern reaches of Sudan. In the video, which he wrote and directed, the actor is shown witnessing what he claims was likely to be a Chinese made missile in flight.

In evidence to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this week, Clooney drew comparisons between Sudan and the violence in Darfur describing it as "ominously similar".

According to UN estimates 2.7 million people have been displaced since the conflict in Darfur begin in 2003, and it is claimed nearly 300,000 people have been killed.

Clooney has long been involved in awareness raising over Sudan.

In 2007 he wrote a letter to Angela Merkel asking them to take 'decisive action' in the region after Omar al-Bashir refused to acknowledge UN resolutions.

Omar al-Bashir, who seized power in the country in a coup in 1989, is wanted by the ICC who have issued an international arrest warrant.

Despite the warrant he was returned to power in the 2010 Sudanese elections.