Numerous religious leaders, four members of Congress, and two actors were arrested at a protest outside the Embassy of Sudan. Among those detained were Rabbi David Saperstein (president of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism), Martin Luther King III, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), civil rights activist Dick Gregory, and George Clooney. Following a referendum last year that divided the former Sudan into two nations, Sudan and South Sudan, President Omar al-Bashir's government has carried out bombing raids on civilians in the restive southern border areas, resulting in an effective blockade of international hunger relief efforts.
King, Gregory, Clooney and his father Nick were speaking attendees at the rally. Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, told the crowd of approximately 150 "the inhumane cruelty of Omar al-Bashir's war crimes is too much for us to abide in silence. With one hand he assaults his own people while with the other he holds back those who would seek to help. I am compelled by God, by my commitment to justice, and by my humanity to speak out." Clooney, who was rushed by reporters upon being detained, said on his arrest, "I am on the right side of history." All of the protestors were released on Friday afternoon.
Will the arrest of these celebrities lead to more American awareness about Sudan, or will it soon be another forgotten story in the news cycle?