BOR, Sudan -- The nascent government of southern Sudan, a key U.S. ally in the volatile nation, is threatened by severe problems including severe cash shortages and growing ethnic tensions spawned by a national ruling party determined to see the south fail, southern officials say.
The future of Sudan as a whole is closely tied to what happens in this oil-rich region, where the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement, or SPLM, fought a brutal, 21-year civil war against the government rooted in claims of discrimination by a northern, Arab elite. More than 2 million southerners died in the conflict, and millions more were displaced.
A protest outside of the Sudanese embassy this morning resulted in the arrest of five members of Congress and two Darfur activists.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Jerry Fowler of Save Darfur Coalition, and John Prendergast of the Enough Project led the protest.
Following speeches by the protest's headliners, the group stepped onto the property of the embassy and was given three warnings by the U.S. Secret Service to leave. As the protesters stood defiant, police handcuffed each of the leaders and escorted them into a Secret Service vehicle.
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Enough's co-Founder John Prendergast speaking in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) tells the assembled media what must be done in Darfur.
MORE THAN 500 PEOPLE JOIN 'DARFUR FAST FOR LIFE'
Since actress and activist Mia Farrow began her fast for Darfur on April 27, more than 500 people around the world have joined the Fasting Chain of her group, Darfur Fast for Life, to fast or subsist on refugee rations for a day or more. Prominent individuals who have joined the fast include Sir Richard Branson, the singer Peter Gabriel, and U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne.
WATCH Mia Farrow discuss her hunger strike in protest of the expulsions of NGOs and aid workers from Darfur on Larry King Live.
JOIN Darfur Fast for Life - even if you want to fast or live on refugee rations for a single day. Sign up at http://fastdarfur.org.
FOLLOW the progress of Mia's April 27 to May 8 fast, in her blog.
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.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), 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.