From the Worldwide Faith News archives

NCC General Secretary Arrested in Protest at Sudan Embassy

From "Carol Fouke" <>
Date Wed, 14 Jul 2004 19:54:28 -0400



Washington, D.C., July 14, 2004 -- In an act of civil disobedience and
protest of the genocide unfolding in Darfur, Sudan, the Rev. Dr. Robert W.
Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA, was
arrested outside of the Sudanese Embassy here today.  Dr. Edgar presented
himself for arrest as part of a campaign to call attention to what the United
Nations calls the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today and to
mobilize U.S. and world action to stop it.  

The campaign, coordinated by Christian Solidarity International, includes
daily noontime demonstrations in front of the Sudanese Embassy that began
June 30.  It is pressing Congress to pass House Concurrent Resolution 467
declaring genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and calling on the Bush Administration
to lead an international intervention, impose targeted sanctions on the
Sudanese government and establish a humanitarian aid fund.

At today's protest, about 50 participants, including many children, marched
outside of the embassy to demand that the government of Sudan stop attacks by
its military and proxy militia against civilians in Darfur.  The Rev. Dr.
Walter Fauntroy, Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and
a former member of Congress, led the demonstration, which ended shortly after
Dr. Edgar and Dr. Carole Burnett, Professor of Ancient and Medieval
Christianity at the Ecumenical Institute of Theology in Baltimore, were
arrested.  Drs. Edgar and Burnett were taken to a local police station, fined
and released.

According to the United Nations, tens of thousands of people have died and
more than one million people in the region have been displaced in an apparent
attempt at ethnic cleansing in Sudanbs Darfur region.	Refugees are living
in makeshift camps, where mass rape of women and girls is common, living
conditions are deplorable and diseases such as cholera, meningitis and polio
threaten to take the lives of infants, children and the elderly.  If nothing
is done to prevent it, countless thousands will die in the weeks and months

"It is clear that a genocide is unfolding in Sudan," Dr. Edgar said today. 
"In April 2004, as the world commemorated the tragic Rwandan genocide of
1994, we all said we would never allow this to happen again.  Yet we are
faced today with another horror that is clearly preventable.  The National
Council of Churches joins with people of goodwill throughout the world who
want to end the needless deaths of countless innocent Sudanese citizens.    
"Getting arrested for this cause is the very least one could do to bring
attention to the urgency of this situation.  The solution rests at the door
of the government of Sudan -- and also at the feet of the international
community. We must face the fact that time grows dangerously short for
action.  As our governments hesitate to do what is right, the loss of
precious lives accelerates with each passing week."

Dr. Burnett commented, "No thinking and feeling person can be indifferent to
the magnitude of the crisis in the Sudan."  She prayed alongside Dr. Edgar as
the two were arrested by the Secret Service.  Congressman Charles Rangel (NY)
was arrested yesterday and the Rev. Fauntroy last week.  Additional acts of
disobedience are planned.

NCC Contacts:  Leslie Tune, 202-297-2191(cell); Tony Kireopoulos,

National Council of Churches
475 Riverside Dr, New York
New York 10115-0050

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