- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More than 100 protesters — including five members of Congress — were arrested Monday during a series of demonstrations in the District focused on health care, the environment and the conflict in Sudan.

The five congressional representatives — Donna Edwards of Maryland, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, John Lewis of Georgia, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and Lynn Woolsey of California, all Democrats — were among eight people arrested outside the Embassy of Sudan on Massachusetts Avenue in Northwest.

Demonstrators were protesting a decision by Sudanese President Omar Bashir to oust 16 aid agencies from the country’s Darfur region, the Associated Press reported.

The International Criminal Court issued a warrant in March for Lt. Gen. Bashir’s arrest for purported war crimes and crimes against humanity. Roughly 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million driven from their homes as a result of the conflict in Darfur, according to the United Nations.

“We can send no more weapons to a government that is engaged in ethnic cleansing against innocent citizens,” Mr. Lewis said. “The world community must step in.”

A U.S. Secret Service spokesman, agent Darrin Blackford, said the arrested group members were charged with crossing a police line, a misdemeanor. The protesters later were processed and released, he said.

At the White House, U.S. Park Police arrested 91 people for exceeding the maximum number of people allowed to protest without a permit.

The AP reported that the demonstrators, including some in wheelchairs who chained themselves to a fence, called on the president to support legislation that would give people with disabilities who are in need of long-term care alternatives to nursing homes.

Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser said officials issued warnings to the group at about 12:30 p.m. and began making arrests at about 1 p.m. The protesters were issued citations and released at the scene with orders to appear in court.

Meanwhile, seven people who climbed a crane and displayed a banner at a construction site near the State Department in Northwest also were arrested Monday.

The banner read “Too Big To Fail” and “Stop Global Warming - Rescue The Planet.” The activists reportedly aimed the message at representatives from 17 economies meeting at the State Department to discuss energy and climate.

A Metropolitan Police Department spokesman, Officer Israel James, said the activists were charged with unlawful entry.

The three protests, which were peaceful, came on the heels of weekend demonstrations outside the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Northwest, in which more than 100 protesters clashed with police Saturday. Before those demonstrations began, police arrested six people and accused them of vandalizing two banks, an incident that authorities think was linked to the protests.

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