Rep. Moran Arrested with George Clooney in Protest at Sudan Embassy

Congressman introduced legislation with Rep. Wolf to alleviate suffering in Sudan.

Congressman Jim Moran, who represents Northern Virginia's 8th District, was arrested Friday morning for crossing a police line along with actor George Clooney and several civil rights leaders at a protest on the steps of the Embassy of Sudan in D.C.

"We are not here for any economic or partisan political agenda, but there is a moral imperative involved here," Moran said. "We who benefit every day from being born into lives of prosperity have some obligation to speak out for those who suffer every day for the accident of their birth."

The group was taken to the District 2 Police Station and were expected to be released soon. "They probably have pretty good lawyers, so we shouldn't hold them for more than a couple hours," said a D.C. police officer at the scene. 

Last week, Moran and Republican Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia's 10th District, introduced the Sudan Peace, Security and Accountability Act of 2012. The legislation would require the Obama administration to face the humanitarian situation in Sudan, create a plan of action for the region and make goals for the removal of sanctions when the violence and ill treatment cease. 

Also arrested Friday were Martin Luther King III and NAACP President Ben Jealous and more than 20 other human rights and faith leaders.

The group, joined by hundreds of sign-waving protestors and throngs of media, demanded that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir end the blockade that is keeping food and humanitarian aid from reaching people living in Sudan's Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile regions. 

"We're here really to ask two very simple questions," said Clooney, who recently traveled to the Nuba Mountains and made a four-minute documentary about it.

"The first question is something immediate," he said. "And immediately we need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Immediately. The second thing we are here to ask, it's a very simple thing, 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."

Martin Luther King III said today's protest was the first of many steps. "My father, Martin Luther King Jr. often told us that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," he said. "This crisis, we know, is beyond epidemic proportions, and so we all join today in a real sense to demand that justice occurs in the country of Sudan."

Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, said that it was the beginning of the end of the Bashir government. "It is time to stop using food as a weapon in Sudan, time to stop using rape as a weapon in Sudan, time to stop killing hundreds of thousands of people in the name of politics," he said.  

Clooney's father, journalist Nick Clooney, made one of the more memorable comments of the day: "If we are who we think we are we should all be standing here. If we are who we've always said we are as Americans we should be standing here together, because what we know is that there are people who are in danger now," he said. "My son and I stand with the Sudanese."

Comedian Dick Gregory pledged to go on hunger strike. "I, Dick Gregory will not eat...solid food until the blockade is broken, and we will break the blockade," he said.  

Others arrested included: 

  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Rep. John Oliver (D-Mass.), Rep. Al Green (D-Texas)
  • Tom Andrews, president, United to End Genocide
  • Bishop Andudu Elnail, Anglican Bishop of Kadugli, South Kordofan
  • Niemat Ahmadi, United to End Genocide
  • Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
  • Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council of Public Affairs
  • Fred Kramer, executive director, Jewish World Watch
  • Ian Schwab, American Jewish World Service
  • John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project
Andrew Wright March 16, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Martin Luther King Jr. got arrested for protesting. I guess he should have just behaved. Not all laws are equal, and some are meant to be broken.
BDogg March 16, 2012 at 07:22 PM
that's comparing apples and oranges. He was arrested because the local state governments were trying to suppress his speech. These idiots were arrested because they were warned THREE times not to cross the police line. You can protest and have free speech. Intentionally crossing a police line for no reason is counterproductive, no matter how noble the cause. Comparing these rocket scientists to MLK is an insult to what MLK went through.
Judy Anderson March 16, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Laws are not meant to be broken. Everyone is given a right to protest in this great land we live in. Lets show respect and not cross the police line that is set up to keep others safe. The people arrested obviously wanted to be arrested for publicity sake. Please everyone just obey the law. I don't like to pay taxes but it is the law! I guess we shouldn't pay our taxes because some don't like it? Please!
Judy Anderson March 16, 2012 at 07:28 PM
I personally don't think it is admirable for anyone to break the law! If George had good sense he wouldn't have crossed the police line. Oh gee! I guess he wanted to get arrested for the publicity. Our police officers shouldn't be bothered with hollywood types vying for publicity. Sad so many look up to our Hollywood (Stars?)
C. Marchionna March 16, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Great photos James! Good story.
Andrew Wright March 16, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Not comparing the men, but the tactics. Martin Luther King Jr broke laws (or was charged), including conspiracy to prevent the operation of a business (a business that was discriminating... legally at the time). Rosa parks was also arrested... she broke a law by not giving up her seat. I guess they should have respected and obeyed the laws and written a letter to the editor instead. Maybe write their representatives. Again, not attempting to put Clooney or Moran on the same level as MLK... just making a point that sometimes breaking a law (when not hurting anyone) can be an important aspect of protest... and yeah, it can get a cause some needed publicity it otherwise isn't getting.
Cody Kitaura March 16, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Really great photos.
NoBS March 16, 2012 at 08:36 PM
The bigger question is...should there be police lines? Where is the Constiutional authority for police lines? We could get into a long line of Supreme Court cases but you get the idea...and remember this quote: At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid. Friedrich Nietzsche
maria March 16, 2012 at 09:03 PM
The first amendment guarantees the right of free speech and freedom of assembly. As Americans we should support George Clooney's right to protest what he believes is wrong--serious violations of human rights. Does not matter if he is an actor, plumber, priest or unemployed activist--thank God we live in a country where you can protest. Where there are protests there exists the possibility for chaos--especially on private property. It appears that the police were friendly and Clooney and his colleagues were there to make the point and bring attention to the abysmal human rights violations in Sudan. Protests like this are successful because of Clooney's fame...successful because we live in a society where we have the right of self determination--even when we disagree or make choices others may not like.
NoBS March 16, 2012 at 09:15 PM
JIm Moran doesn't need George Clooney to get publicity.Jim Moran was arrested for disorderly conduct in front of the Sudanese embassy in April of 2006. He's been protesting about the aid block to Sudan for a long time.
san banarje March 16, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Great shot by James.
KarenDuncan March 16, 2012 at 09:56 PM
For those who believe the cause is just but also believe that it is wrong to break the law as a protest, all I can ask, while shaking my head, is have you never heard of Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, Jr.? Do you not realize that people like Carrie Ten Boom and Martin Niemoller also committed civil disobedience. There is a tradition, in this country and around the world, of principled civil disobedience and it has been practiced by some of the moral giants to protest some of the worst atrocities. Of course, it is normally wrong to break laws. But there are times when peaceful, nonviolent protest is the more moral and courageous path. I applaud Jim Moran and George Clooney and their fellow protesters in taking that path
RDH53 March 16, 2012 at 09:56 PM
A criminal tresspassing coviction does not look good on a resume. I'm sure someone like George Clooney dosen't worry about that, but some of us do.
John Arbuckle March 16, 2012 at 10:05 PM
It's simple, the police line protects the Embassies. The embassies are secured by Secret Service. They are obliged to protect the embassies just as foreign powers are obliged to protect our embassies overseas. The line they crossed was the line to be on the property of the Embassy, it's simple as that and straight forward protocol. There is no issue here of people not being able to protest.
John Arbuckle March 16, 2012 at 10:09 PM
It's simple, the police line protects the Embassies. The embassies are secured by Secret Service. They are obliged to protect the embassies just as foreign powers are obliged to protect our embassies overseas. The line they crossed was the line to be on the property of the Embassy, it's simple as that and straight forward protocol. There is no issue here of people not being able to protest, just stay off Embassy property and you will not be arrested. As awful as the Sudanese and/or other countries leadership might be (like the Syrians who also have a well protected embassy), it's important that this protocol be followed as it keeps American men and woman overseas safe (in most circumstances).
Mike March 17, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Comparing those great people to that narcacistic celebutard is ludicrous.
William Black March 17, 2012 at 12:15 AM
I have no problem with Jim Moran being arrested. My problem is that he will be released.
William Tecumseh March 17, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Have Mr. Clooney and Congressman Moran move the protest to 2000 N. Beauregard. May need a few more sets of cuffs.
Mindy March 17, 2012 at 01:49 PM
I find it a little disturbing that a story about the profound suffering in Sudan leads to dialogue about the legalities of a police line and who may have crossed. Shame on us.
Karen Gautney March 17, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Agreed, Mindy. I was going to post that same sentiment and then read your comment. The protesters didn't hurt anybody or anything. They are using an age old technique to draw attention to a horrible problem. It has worked, to large extent, but many would rather not delve into an international atrocity when they can instead focus on petty swipes at politicians and celebrities. I'm off to find a thread where people are discussing what is happening in Sudan and what we can do about it.
Ken March 17, 2012 at 04:43 PM
People in Sudan are being killed with guns, machettes, bombs, and starvation. Children are orphaned. Women are raped. I think we all agree these are horrendous crimes...but most of us are silent. Maybe some of us write an email. Some are more daring (with no personal gain) to exercise their voices and say "Stop!" It is not enough, but it is a start.
Will Radle March 17, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Sadly, I wonder if they even shake their heads over political stunts thousands of miles away. The victims of Sudan do not know we care. That's sad. Thank you, Sally.
Jay Crystal March 18, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I fully support free speech, and believe the actions by those involved raised US awareness of a major human rights abuse. There are numerous examples of when raised awareness of an issue among everyday people in the US eventually leads to the projection of power through government and other channels that contributes to a favorable outcome. Daylight can be the best disinfectant, and I'm happy to see it cast on an issue this grave by any reasonable source (be it a politician, an actor, or an ordinary citizen).
Bill Sams March 18, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Well, I for one am glad to see Congressman Moran doing more than most others to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, an isolated region in Sudan's north, not part of South Sudan, where people are being systematically attacked and denied humanitarian aid and where famine appears likely in 2012. For more information on Congressman Moran's co-sponsorship of the “Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act of 2012,” please visit: http://mcgovern.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=15&sectiontree=168,15&itemid=621 For more background on the issue read: http://dissentmagazine.org/atw.php?id=479 Video of Clooney's recent trip to the Nuba region of Sudan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p89OuPODBMM
Brian Virgo March 19, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Agree. Awesome shots.
Barbara Comstock March 19, 2012 at 01:24 PM
For those rightfully concerned about the actual issues here in Sudan and the atrocities, Congressman Wolf just recently took a trip to Sudan and has written a report on his trip as well as his policy recommendations that address the issues in great detail. To see the report read here: http://wolf.house.gov/uploads/Sudan%20Trip%20Report%202012.pdf
Jim Daniels March 19, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I think the point is to raise awareness of the problem in the United States...not with any thought it would directly cause Sudan to change its ways...and it does seem to be working as it has been all over the news...
Jim Daniels March 19, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Civil disobedience is a time honored tradition in the United States...Martin Luther King has a holiday because he practiced it to great effect. Getting arrested to protest a far greater injustice has been a staple of protests in the United States practically since the founding.
Mackie Christenson March 19, 2012 at 07:30 PM
what a great picture.
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