Egypt forces Viva Palestina convoy to long Gaza road

Egypt forced Viva Palestina aid convoy to return to Syria, which is a long trip to reach the Gaza Strip.

Egypt forces Viva Palestina convoy to long Gaza road

Egypt forced Viva Palestina aid convoy to return to Syria, which is a long trip to reach the Gaza Strip.

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.

Viva-Palestina which have been stranded in Aqaba for 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.

The aid convoy said some members started a hunger strike at 11.25 am on Sunday in protest at the Egyptian government's refusal to allow the convoy entry onto its soil.

It was at 11.25 am on December 27 2008, that Israel dropped its first bombs on the besieged population of Gaza. Three weeks later, following a sustained air, land and sea assault.

The Viva Palestina statement said "hunger strikers will consume only liquids until the convoy is allowed entry into Egypt."

"International activists"

Foreign activists also on Monday protested Egypt outside the French Embassy in Cairo, witnesses said.

Some 1,400 activists from 43 countries had gathered in Cairo on Sunday to mark the first anniversary of the Israeli offensive on the Gaza. Strip that killed nearly 1500 Palestinian with a third of them children.

The activists, several hundred of whom were from France, had asked Egypt for permission to cross into Gaza but the Interior Ministry has refused to allow peaceful convoy.

About 300 protesters, surrounded by a heavy police presence, set up tents and blocked a road in front of the mission.

About 30 activists managed to make their way on Sunday by public transport to Arish in northern Sinai, where they were now under house arrest, said Yvonne Ridley, a member of the Gaza Freedom March.

Eight more reached Rafah, on the border, but were later returned to Arish, Egyptian security officials said.

The activists said in a statement they were protesting against the economic blockade of the Gaza Strip and the December 2008-January 2009 Israeli military attacked against Gaza.

Last week 16 rights groups including Amnesty International and Oxfam issued a joint statement saying the world has betrayed civilians in the Gaza Strip by failing to end the Israeli blockade of the enclave.


Agencies

Last Mod: 29 Aralık 2009, 13:19
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