PICTURES 1-5 Left to Right:
"Never again!" a slogan which originally referred to the
Holocaust, was again in force the Washington D.C. demonstration
calling for an end to genocide in the Sudan. (AP)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, at the Washington
rally against genocide in Sudan, with actor George Clooney
and his father, former journalist Nick Clooney. (AP)
Demonstrators faced the U.S. Capitol Sunday, April 30, 2006,
as they called on President Bush and Congress to use their
political clout to help stop atrocities in Darfur (AP)
Five members of Congress (above, Rep. Sheila Jackson
Lee, D-Texas, in a squad car) were arrested Friday
outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington. (AP)
Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., is handcuffed as he and four
other members of Congress were arrested while demonstrating
Friday outside the Sudanese Embassy. (AP)
(CBS/AP) They came from many corners of the U.S. - from many
different points of view - but when they gathered on the
National Mall in Washington, D.C., Sunday, they had one voice.
"Not on our watch," the crowd chanted, as a parade of
speakers took turns on the stage - exhorting the world to speak
out against the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, and
calling on the Bush administration and Congress to use their
political clout to stop it.
The rally's organizers – a diverse coalition including
celebrities Jewish groups, Sudanese immigrants, black Americans,
evangelical Christians, Catholics, and gay rights groups – say
they bused people in from 41 states and estimated the crowd at
between 10,000 and 15,000.
The police made no official estimate of the size of the crowd.
"The personal motivation for a lot of us is the Holocaust," said
Boston-based Rabbi Or Rose of Jewish Seminarians for Justice.
"Given our history and experience, we feel an obligation to
stand up and speak out."
Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel told the crowd,
"for the sake of our humanity, save Darfur," CBSNews.com's Amy
Sara Clark reports.
Wiesel said while families are being uprooted and starved and
children tormented and slaughtered, the world is "indifferent to
He said he won't remain silent because "silence helps the
killer, never his victims."
The D.C. rally, which was peaceful with no arrests, was one of
several events in U.S. cities over the weekend over what the
United Nations has termed the world's worst humanitarian
"It is the social responsible, good conscience thing to do,"
said Ron Fisher, who took a pre-dawn bus from Cleveland with his
15-year-old daughter Jordyn to attend the demonstration.
"It's an opportunity to show my daughter what people do when
they care about something."
CBSNews.com's Clark reported from the rally that marchers wore
orange stickers with numbers, each signifying a Darfur victim.
Some carried banners and signs with slogans including "Never
again" and "Save Darfur."
The event attracted high-profile speakers from the worlds of
screen, athletics, religion and politics: actor George
Clooney, just back from a trip to Africa; Sen. Barack
Obama, D-Ill.; House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi
of California; Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel;
Olympic speedskating champion Joey Cheek, who donated his
bonus money to projects in war-torn Darfur; and Roman
Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington.
"If we care, the world will care," Obama said. "If we act, then
the world will follow." Pelosi said Democrats for once agree
with Mr. Bush: "This genocide must stop."
Clooney and his father, Nick, a former television
anchorman, interviewed families in Sudanese refugee camps. The
elder Clooney described their role as reporters. "It's our job
to tell you what we saw," he said. "Thousands of people hanging
on by the most gossamer of threads."
George Clooney - who stepped into a more activist role last year
as a creative force behind the films "Good Night and Good Luck"
and "Syriana" - was the big draw of Sunday's rally. He said the
policies of the United States and the United Nations are failing
and citizens must raise their voices to demand change.
"This is in fact the first genocide of the 21st century, but
there is hope: all of you," the actor said. "Every one of you
speaking with one voice, every one of you."
Many of the demonstrators arrived by bus early in the morning.
Nine-year-old twins Alexandra and Maya Silver, who came from
Princeton, New Jersey with their mother Reza Green, were
carrying a homemade banner that read, "If we're not part of the
solution, we're part of the problem."
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a broadcast
interview, noted developments Sunday in Nigeria, where Sudan's
government said it is ready to sign a
peace agreement to end the bloodshed.
Rebels, however, expressed reservations and pressed for an
extension to talks with a deadline from the African Union
"Obviously a peace agreement would be a very important step
forward in getting this done," Rice said on ABC's "This Week."
"I don't know if they will extend, but there clearly has been
some progress, and the United States has been one of the most
active states in doing this," she said.
Sudan has indicated it might accept a U.N. force in Darfur to
aid African Union troops if a peace treaty is signed, but
Sudanese rebels have
rejected the draft agreement.
Years of fighting between ethnic groups and Arab militias in
western Sudan have left at least 180,000 people dead and about 2
million homeless. Amid the talks, the plight of 3 million
refugees in Darfur has worsened. The U.N. World Food Program
said Friday that it was cutting rations in half, citing a lack
President Bush met with Darfur advocates at the White House on
Friday and lent his support to the weekend rallies. "For those
of you who are going out to march for justice, you represent the
best of our country," Mr. Bush said.