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150 Activists Strike in Front of the Cairo World Trade Center
150 Activists Strike in Front of the Cairo World Trade Center
Protesters threaten to continue hunger strike include 85 year old Israeli woman.
More than 1,400 human rights activists from various civil society organizations in France, Italy and Belgium organized a protest in front of the World Trade Center in Cairo on Monday afternoon.
Wednesday, December 30,2009 14:03
by Mohamed Abdel Salam BM&Ikhwanweb

Cairo: More than 1,400 human rights activists from various civil society organizations in France, Italy and Belgium organized a protest in front of the World Trade Center in Cairo on Monday December 30. The demonstrators rallied in protest against the Egyptian authorities’ decision to prevent them from crossing into Gaza, they stressed that they were disappointed by the decision, since they had been preparing to visit the Gaza Strip for more than six months. Banners were lifted reading “freedom for Gaza". The activists demanded an end to the Israeli occupation and to the unacceptable violations of international law.

The protesters said that they will not end their sit-in until they are granted permission   to enter the Gaza Strip with their convoy in order to provide necessary aid for Gazans. This protest came about after Egyptian Security Services banned 150 European activists from reaching Northern Sinai on their way to the Rafah crossing to enter Gaza Strip.

An Egyptian security source reported that instructions were issued for the security services to stop the activists in Suez and to deny them entry to Sinai. Authorities alleged that the activists failed to coordinate with the responsible venue to receive permission to enter the territory.

Sources told local newspapers that the security services asked the activists to travel back to Cairo after a few of them managed to reach Al Arish, however the activists threatened to strike in front of the checkpoints. Over 150 activists from different nationalities initiated a sit-in on Sunday, December 27 in front of the French Embassy in Cairo, protesting the Egyptian government’s decision to deny them access to cross into Gaza through Rafah on the first anniversary of the Israeli military operations in Gaza. Sources  added the  convoy,  “Freedom for Gaza”, reached 1,500 participants who wanted to visit Gaza in commemoration of the first anniversary of the Israeli invasion last year, which led to the death of more than 1400 people.

 The  convoy's organizers stressed that they wanted  to deliver a message to the world and Israel demanding the  stop to the bloodshed and killing of innocent Palestinian civilians. They also condemned the Egyptian authorities’ decision to prevent them from visiting Gaza through the Rafah crossing. The organizers were skeptical pointing out  that they were  unsure that mutual interests were in mind as it seemed there were strong relations between Egypt and Israel, citing the prevention of the convoy from crossing into Gaza.

One  activist and participant in the ”Viva Palestina” convoy, led by the prominent British MP George Galloway, was an 85 year old Holocaust survivor named Hedi Absten announced that she had began a hunger strike on Monday in response to the Egyptian government’s refusal to allow the participant to cross into Gaza. A press release from the convoy announced  that Absten, a member of the delegation which includes participants from 43 countries around the world, said, “all members of the delegation are currently on hunger strike and located in a camp next to the World Trade Center in Cairo.”

In the statement Absten ascertained “We will support  the people of Gaza till the end, for they are not alone. I am among the citizens who reject the policies of Israel, the United States and European governments against the Palestinians”. She added that the number of foreign supporters of the Palestinian cause is increasing all over the world.

In a related context, Hossam Zaki, a spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, stressed that Egypt was participating in the convoy’s preparations through the Viva Palestina’s . He highlighted   that the Egyptian embassy in London sent a letter to George Gallaway on November 10 to inform him of the process necessary  for relief convoys to pass. The embassy noted that it would only allow the convoy to cross through Al Arish.

The spokesman stated that the Egyptian embassy in London had not received any information from the organizers of the convoy which began from London on December 6 nor did it receive any request from them. Egypt has repeatedly stressed that the convoy may only pass through Al Arish and not Nuweiba.

The convoy of “Viva Palestina” has decided to move on Tuesday morning from the the Jordanian city of Aqaba and from there to Port Latakia in Syria in preparation to enter Egypt through the port of Al Arish. This was stated by spokesman of the convoy, Zahir AlBirawy, who explained that the decision came about in order to not lose any time.

The convoy consists of approximately 250 trucks and vehicles, containing food and medical equipment, in addition to an ambulance loaded with humanitarian aid from Turkey, Europe and Arab countries.



tags: Relief Convoy / Cast Lead / Gaza Siege / Israeli Crimes / Israeli Blockade / Code Pink / Gaza Freedom March
Posted in Palestine  
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