George Clooney has spoken after his arrest outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington DC, telling reporters he wants to bring attention to an “immediate danger”.
The actor, who is president of United to End Genocide, was earlier handcuffed along with his father, Nick, and several Democrat politicians and human rights and faith leaders for civil disobedience.
They were protesting against the humanitarian emergency that is reportedly threatening the lives of 500,000 people in the war-torn African country.
Speaking after his release hours later, Clooney said: “What we have been trying to achieve is, we are trying to bring attention to an ongoing emergency.
“Our job right now is to bring attention to it. One of those ways was apparently getting arrested.”
George Clooney smiles as his hands are tied with a plastic cable by an officer
He added: “You never know if you are accomplishing anything. We hope that this brings attention to it.
“We hope that people understand that there really is a ticking clock on this and we really need to get moving.”
Asked about his time in police custody by journalists, the 50-year-old Hollywood star said: “It was really rough.”
He added it was his first arrest, and that he hoped that it would be his last.
Clooney and around 16 to 17 other demonstrators were released after being held by police for several hours.
Swarmed by journalists, flashing cameras and TV crews, Clooney had said earlier that he hoped to draw more attention to the issue and that if action is not taken in the next three to four months “we’re going to have a real humanitarian disaster.”
“We need humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Sudan before it becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in the world – immediately,” Clooney said to cheering supporters shortly before his arrest.
“The second thing we are here to ask is a very simple thing – it’s for the government in Khartoum to stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children,” continued the 50-year-old star of The Descendants.
“Stop raping them, and stop starving them. That’s all we ask,” added the long-time activist for human rights in Sudan.
After speaking on the steps of the embassy to hundreds of activists, members of Congress and activist leaders were warned by police to leave the scene. When they refused, police arrested them.
Clooney, his father – a well-known radio broadcaster in the US – and others, including Democratic politician Jim Moran of Virginia and civil rights leader Ben Jealous, were held after being warned three times not to cross a police line outside the embassy.
Their hands were tied with plastic cables and they were put into a US Secret Service van.
Asked about his arrest as he was led away, Clooney told a reporter: “It is a pretty humiliating thing, quite honestly.”