Congressman arrested at Sudan Embassy protest

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Charles Rangel was arrested Tuesday outside the embassy of Sudan in a protest over the plight of refugees in the African nation.

"When human lives are in jeopardy, there should be outrage," Rangel said at the embassy steps. He was arrested for unlawful assembly.

Protest organizers said Rangel, a Harlem Democrat, will be one of a series of prominent black figures to be arrested in coming days in front of the embassy to bring attention to the suffering of starving Sudanese. Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed in Sudan's Darfur region in the past year and a half, and an estimated 1 million have been driven from their homes.

The deaths could soar much higher if humanitarian aid doesn't reach the people, says the U.S. Agency for International Development.

American activists are trying to bring international pressure to force the Sudanese government and foreign governments to end the violence and bring humanitarian assistance to areas that will probably be cut off when the rainy season begins.

At Tuesday's protest, Rangel said peacekeeping troops should be sent in to prevent "one of the world's worst tragedies" -- the possible deaths of hundreds of thousands of people from starvation and disease.

An embassy spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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