WASHINGTON (CNN) – Five members of Congress were among those arrested Monday outside the Embassy of Sudan for crossing a police line during a demonstration against genocide in Darfur.
"You have to find a way to dramatize an issue," Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) told CNN as he was led away in handcuffs.
The other U.S. lawmakers who were arrested during the protest are Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts), Donna Edwards (D-Maryland), Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), and Lynn Woolsey (D-California).
Lewis faces a misdemeanor charge of trespassing, after he refused three warnings from police to stay behind a barricade established toprotect the diplomatic compound located along Washington's Embassy Row.
A champion of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Lewis said the U.S. cannot afford to wait for Sudan to settle ethnic conflict and massive killings that the State Department has characterized as genocide.
As he was lined up with seven other people to be loaded into a prisoner transport vehicle, Lewis said "this is another step toward helping to free the children of Darfur and put an end to the genocide, to the violence; crimes against humanity."
A CNN reporter asked Lewis whether his arrest would make a difference, and Lewis replied "it is my hope and my prayer that it will." Police then moved him toward a van, and removed his shoelaces and belt as part of standard precautions with prisoner transport.
Activist Rev. David Saperstein and two organizers of the protestrally were also placed in handcuffs. The group was to be processed at a city police precinct and likely released on their promise to appear incourt.
About 50 demonstrators, including those arrested, gathered on a sidewalk outside Sudan's embassy, where police had already set up a yellow-tape barricade.
CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.