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Protesters Call for Intervention in Darfur

STEVE YDSTIE, Host:

NPR's Allison Keyes was there.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Not on our watch! Not-on-our-watch!

ALLISON KEYES: The list of speakers for the rally included actor George Clooney, civil rights activist Al Sharpton, and Presidential Letter recipient Paul Rusesabagina, who saved more than 1,200 people from the genocide in Rwanda, twelve years ago.

PAUL RUSESABAGINA: Today, it is our mission not to remain bystanders, but to stand up and fight and try to help all of those people in need.

KEYES: Looking out over the multiracial crowd, Rabbi Marc Schneier told them this movement is a rejuvenation of the historic black-Jewish alliance from the 1960s.

MARC SCHNEIER: The spirit of interracial, inter- faith, inter-ethnic cooperation, provides the model for our actions against the atrocities in Darfur.

KEYES: President Bush said Friday he supported the rallies after meeting with Darfur advocates at the white house. He wants to see the United Nations and NATO supplement the African Union troops already in place in Sudan.

GEORGE W: We have got AU troops on the ground. Those troops need to be augmented and increased through strong United Nations action.

KEYES: But it isn't clear how to accomplish that. The Sudanese government is against a U.N. mission there. The charge d'affair at the Sudan mission to the U.N., Yasser Abda Salam(ph), says the Bush administration and the international community should butt out.

YASSER ABDA SALAM: I appeal to the American administration to just wait for peace in Darfur, instead of instigating apartheid and waging war.

KEYES: Allison Keyes, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Allison Keyes is an award-winning journalist with almost 20 years of experience in print, radio, and television. She has been reporting for NPR's national desk since October 2005. Her reports can be heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition Sunday.