[HCCN] Gaza Freedom March at El Arish

Judith Robbins judy at robbinsandrobbins.com
Mon Dec 28 16:01:54 EST 2009


from Al Jazeera today, news of Gaza Freedom March and Viva Palestina  
Convoy:




UPDATED ON:
MONDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2009
21:49 MECCA TIME, 18:49 GMT



Gaza aid convoy to change course




Egypt accused the French protesters of lying and trying to embarrass  
it [AFP]
Organisers of Viva Palestina aid convoy, which is trying to reach the  
Gaza Strip, have now agreed to go via Syria en route to Egypt.

The agreement came after a Turkish mediator reached a deal with the  
Egyptian consul in Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba.

The convoy will now head to the Syrian port of Latakia to sail from  
there to the Egyptian port of El Arish, and then to Gaza.
The Viva Palestina convoy, which has been stranded in Aqaba for the  
past five days, is led by George Galloway, a British MP.

Turkey dispatched an official on Saturday to try convince the  
Egyptians to allow the convoy to go through the Red Sea port of  
Nuweiba, the most direct route to Gaza after Egypt insisted that the  
convoy can only enter through El-Arish, on its Mediterranean coast.

Viva Palestina and another convoy, The Gaza Freedom March, were  
planning to arrive on Sunday to commemorate the first anniversary of  
Israel's war on Gaza that killed 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

Meanwhile, at least 300 French participants of the Gaza Freedom March  
spent the night camped out in front of their embassy in Cairo,  
bringing a major road in the Egyptian capital to a halt as riot  
police  wielding plexiglass shields surrounded them.

Egypt angry

Hossam Zaki, an Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman, accused the  
French protesters of lying and trying to embarrass Egypt.





"They claimed they had aid to carry to the Palestinians in the Gaza  
Strip, which is a lie," the MENA news agency quoted Zaki as saying.

"They want media exposure and to pressure and embarrass Egypt," he said.

On Sunday, police briefly detained 38 international participants in  
the Sinai town of El-Arish, organisers said.

"At noon (1000 GMT) on December 27, Egyptian security forces detained  
a group of 30 activists in their hotel in El-Arish as they prepared  
to leave for Gaza, placing them under house arrest.

"Another group of eight people, including American, British,   
Spanish, Japanese and Greek citizens, were detained at the bus   
station of El-Arish in the afternoon of December 27," they said.

On Sunday, Egyptian police also stopped some 200 protesters from  
renting boats on the Nile to hold a procession to commemorate those  
who died in the Gaza war.

On December 31, participants are hoping to join Palestinians "in a  
non-violent march from northern Gaza to the Erez-Israeli border," the  
organisers said.

  Source:
Al Jazeera & agencies
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