Five members of Congress and two Darfur activists had themselves arrested Monday outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C., to draw attention to the continuing humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Uniformed Secret Service officers put plastic handcuffs on Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), along with Save Darfur Coalition president Jerry Fowler and Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast after the group stepped behind yellow police tape in front of the embassy.
Before being taken into custody, each of the arrestees addressed a small crowd of reporters and other activists who had been tipped off about the event. Each speaker called on the Obama administration to do more to stop the conflict in Sudan.
"Almost a half a million people have been killed," said Rep. Lewis before crossing the line. "This terror, this violence must end and it must end soon."
After their statements, the gang lifted up the police tape and waited patiently (and quietly) for the police to arrest them. An officer issued three warnings before the cuffs came out. Officers frisked each of the lawbreakers and went through their pockets before stuffing them in a paddywagon and a cruiser.
The group met Monday morning at the Religious Action Center before marching the short distance to the embassy. As they went over their plan, some of the members put their wallets and other personal belongings into plastic bags. Ellison took the extra step of removing his shoelaces. The Huffington Post asked Ellison if he'd been arrested before.
"Not on something like this," he said.
The protesters had hired criminal defense attorney Laura Rhodes to get them out from behind bars. Rhodes seemed pretty confident in her game.
"For those of you anxious about going to jail, I've gotten people out who've killed people," she said.
UPDATE: Also arrested: Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of