WASHINGTON – A popular radio program host was arrested Tuesday outside the Embassy of Sudan during a protest of the country's treatment of residents of the Darfur region.
The demonstration was part of a series that has been going on since June 29. A few people have been marching at the embassy daily,with 16 arrests,including Rep. Charles Rangel,D-N.Y.,and activist Dick Gregory.
“We have been here every single day,” said Joe Madison,the radio talk show host,civil rights leader and president of the Sudan Campaign. Madison's morning program is broadcast on WOL-AM here and on XM satellite radio.
Madison,who was on his 22nd day of a hunger strike,walked to the embassy door,turned around,put his arms behind him,and police officers handcuffed him. He was charged with trespassing.
“I'm submitting myself for arrest,” he said,adding that his hunger strike and marching have not provoked the Bush administration to call what is going on in Sudan a genocide. The administration has used the term “ethnic cleansing.”
Both houses of Congress voted unanimously two weeks ago to use the word genocide for what has been happening in Darfur.
The last words Madison had before heading for the embassy doors were with his wife. “Can we have a moment,” she asked him as he was showing her where he had parked his car.
“The people in Darfur are starving,” said Colleen Isaacs,one of the protesters and an accountant from Jamaica. “It's similar to Rwanda. Somebody got to do something.”
According to the Sudan Campaign,up to 50,000 people have been killed and about 1 million displaced. The conflict in Darfur has been termed the “world's worst humanitarian crisis” by the United Nations.
Arab militias,called the Janjaweed,are accused of forcing black residents of Darfur out of their homes and destroying them,in addition to raping and killing many.
Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry had planned to join demonstrators and be arrested,but a spokesman said Barry had injured his foot. Barry is running for a D.C. Council seat in the fall. He will attend the protests some other day,his spokesman said.