WASHINGTON D.C. - The head of an Encino-based anti-genocide organization was among the activists and politicians who were arrested Friday along with actor George Clooney at a protest outside the Sudanese embassy.
Clooney, his father Nick Clooney and other activists were arrested after being warned three times not to cross a police line outside the embassy. Those taken into custody included NAACP President Ben Jealous, Martin Luther King III, and actor and comedian Dick Gregory.
Several members of Congress also were arrested, including Massachusetts Reps. James McGovern and John Olver, Texas Rep. Al Green and Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia. They were handcuffed and placed into a U.S. Secret Service van.
Clooney was released several hours later after paying a $100 fine.
Fred Kramer, executive director of Encino-based Jewish World Watch, was taken into custody for crossing the police line at about 11 a.m. and released about two hours later.
The 7-year-old organization works with refugees in Chad, Sudan and Congo and runs education and advocacy programs about the plight of civilians in the region.
Kramer estimated that the death toll was about 400,000 in the last eight years, and that more than 1 million people have been displaced.
"It really is an unbelievable situation," Kramer said in a telephone interview. "This is violence on a scale that doesn't occur often.
When asked if it was worth getting arrested,
"Getting arrested with somebody like George Clooney and four different congressmen has brought this issue to the fore, at least for the day in a way that no matter what we do during the rest of the year, we can't get," Kramer said. "We have brought a magnifying glass in a way that we could not have done otherwise."
The protesters accuse Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir of provoking a humanitarian crisis and blocking food and aid from entering the Nuba Mountains in the county's border region with South Sudan.
The arrests came after Clooney met this week with Obama, testified in the Senate and attended a state dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Clooney said he has asked President Barack Obama to engage China on stopping a humanitarian crisis in northern Africa.
The situation is urgent, he said, because the upcoming rainy season would block transportation of food aid to the area.
Clooney said he didn't know if his actions would make a difference but that he at least wanted to make more people aware.
Daily News Staff Writer C.J. Lin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.