Seven Arrested for Protesting Sudan Genocide

posted by Mike on February 2nd, 2005

Seven people were arrested today at a noontime demonstration outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington DC, calling for an end to the Sudanese government’s campaign of genocide in Darfur. The demonstrators, who were carrying enlarged photos of Sudanese refugees, knelt in prayer along the steps to the embassy and were arrested an hour after their arrival by members of the Secret Service.

All seven are currently being held at the Second District police station and are scheduled to appear in Superior Court on Indiana Avenue tomorrow. Charges are unknown.

Four of the activists are from Worcester, Massachusetts: Harry Duchesne and Tom Lewis of Emma House, and Ken Hannaford-Ricardi and Scott Schaeffer-Duffy of the Sts. Francis and Therese Catholic Worker. These were joined by Brenna Cussen and Liz Fallon of South Bend, Indiana, and Brian Kavanagh of the Hartford, Connecticut Catholic Worker.

The protest was inspired by a recent trip to Sudan taken by the Catholic Worker Peace Team. Schaeffer-Duffy, Cussen, Grace Ritter of Ithaca, NY, and Christopher Doucot of Hartford traveled to Darfur, Dec. 4-13, 2004, in order to investigate the crisis there, deliver aid, and explore nonviolent resolutions to the conflict.

The CWPT visited four camps for “internally displaced people” outside Nyala, the capital of South Darfur. They delivered $18,000 worth of food, clothing, and blankets to some of the more than 95,000 camp residents. They observed horrific conditions, which included primitive housing, lack of sanitation, food, and clean water, and an appalling lack of security. During their visit, women from one camp were raped by government-sponsored Janjaweed militiamen, government troops attacked a nearby village, and NGOs were barred from delivering essential services to the Drieg camp of 5,000 residents. On the day after they departed, two Save the Children workers were killed by the Janjaweed.

Schaeffer-Duffy said that what he observed in Sudan motivated his decision to go to the Sudanese Embassy in Washington. “We witnessed the effects of a calculated policy of rape, murder, pillage, and ethnic cleansing by government troops and their henchmen. We were told repeatedly only international pressure on the Sudanese government can improve the situation,” he said.

Ms. Cussen said, “I am protesting at the Sudanese embassy to fulfill a pledge I made to a refugee who begged me: ‘You must be my voice.’”

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2 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On May 23, 2005 at 09:41 joyce annis said:

    You are in my prayers.

  2. On May 25, 2005 at 14:28 Mignon Montpetit said:

    Holding you and the Sudanese in prayer…

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