Home | News    Thursday 15 July 2004

U.S. lawmaker arrested at Sudanese embassy in Washington


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Bobby Rush

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2004 (dpa) — A U.S. lawmaker on Thursday was arrested for trespassing at the Sudanese embassy in Washington during a protest demanding "an end to the genocide" in Sudan.

Illinois Representative Bobby Rush was the third prominent figure to be arrested at the embassy in as many days. Rush is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, which groups African American lawmakers and has called for sanctions against the government in Khartoum.

An estimated 50 protesters gathered at Sudan’s embassy in Washington, according to Joia Nuri of the Christian Solidarity International, a group that represented the demonstrators.

According to U.N. estimates, 1.2 million black Africans have been forced from their homes by Arab militias. More than 100,000 have fled to neighbouring Chad, while as many as 30,000 people have died in the conflict.

Former representative Bob Edgar, now the president of the National Council of Churches, and New York Representative Charles Rangel were arrested during protests earlier this week. A total of 11 demonstrators have been arrested since protests started June 29, Nuri said.

Radio talk show host and civil rights activist Joe Madison on Thursday entered the third day of a hunger strike. He has called for an immediate end to Khartoum’s obstruction of humanitarian aid to victims of the violence there.

On Wednesday, Jan Egeland, U.N. emergency relief coordinator, said the situation in the troubled Darfur region appeared to be slightly improving.

Khartoum has allowed aid organizations access to Darfur, Egeland told journalists. But government-backed "Janjaweed" militias continue to terrorize villagers in the western Sudanese region, Egeland added.

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