Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Egyptian riot police attack and injure UK aid convoy volunteers
Just before Christmas I reported on the Viva Palestina aid convoy that was delivering medical and educational supplies from UK to the Gaza Strip. I talked with those taking part and was deeply impressed by their commitment to their mission.
However, the latest news is not so gratifying. After being given the runaround by the Egyptian authorities and being told that they could not enter the country via Jordan they tried to get their supplies through via a Syrian port. Also the Israeli government attempted to stop the ferry the convoy reaching Egyptian territory using naval exercises as a pretext though this plan was thwarted thanks to the intervention of a Turkish warship which escorted them to their final port of call.
The latest hurdle thrown in their path are new restriction placed on who can and cannot enter Gaza placed upon them by Cairo which has said that only 150 of the 450 volunteers who have come from all over the world to help can go through. The Egyptian responded to protests by sending in the riot police who are attacking convoy members as I write this.
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