5 in Congress arrested at Darfur protest

April 27, 2009 at 3:02 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 27 (UPI) -- Five members of Congress were arrested outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington Monday as they demonstrated against the situation in Darfur.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died in Darfur in western Sudan in what the U.S. State Department has described as genocide.

The protesters spoke out against the general situation in Darfur and Sudan's expulsion of outside relief agencies.

A spokesman for Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., told The Hill that the five and organizers of the protest from the Save Darfur Coalition crossed a Secret Service perimeter around the embassy and ignored three warnings to leave the property. They were expected to be fined for a misdemeanor and released.

Members of Congress arrested were Edwards; Jim McGovern, D-Mass.; John Lewis, D-Ga., a veteran of the civil rights movement in the 1960s; Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the only Muslim member of Congress, and Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif.

Also arrested were Jerry Fowler, coalition president; John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Anticipating arrest, Edwards and her colleagues hired a defense lawyer, Laura Rhodes, before the protest, the Edwards spokesman said.

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