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Egyptian riot police surrounding Gaza aid convoy in Al-Arish - now!

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Tuesday January 05, 2010 21:11author by Fintan Lane - IPSC media officerauthor phone 087 1258325

Egyptian riot police surrounding Gaza aid convoy and Irish participants

In the past hour, the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) received the following urgent updates from the port of Al-Arish in Egypt, where the Gaza aid convoy, which includes several Irish people and three Irish vehicles, is currently surrounded by riot police. It is unclear how the situation will unfold, though the convoy was meant to travel into Gaza tomorrow, with its much-needed humanitarian aid.

The first report is by text from Tyrone man John Hurson.

The second report is from Kevin Ovenden, one of the chief organisers of the convoy.

1. Message from John Hurson:

"Everyone now in Al Arish, 30km from Rafah border crossing. In a large compound with our vehicles. We are surrounded by the riot squad and we have all blocked the entrance. Big stand off now on. Go online to Al Jazeera arabic to see us live."

2. Message from Kevin Ovenden:

"To all friends of Palestine: Our situation is now at a crisis point! Riot has broken out in the port of Al- Arish.
This late afternoon we were negotiating with a senior official from Cairo who left negotiations some two hours ago and did not return. Our negotiations with the official was regarding taking our aid vehicles into Gaza. He left two hours ago and did not come back. Egyptian authorities called over 2,000 riot police who then moved towards our camp at the port.

We have now blocked the entrance to the port and we are now faced with riot police and water cannons and are determined to defend our vehicles and aid.

The Egyptian authorities have by their stubbornness and hostility towards the convoy, brought us to a crisis point.
We are now calling upon all friends of palestine to mount protests in person where possible, but by any means available to Egyptian representatives, consulates and Embassy’s and demand that the convoy are allowed a safe passage into Gaza tomorrow!

Kevin Ovenden
Viva Palestina Convoy Leader


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