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55 injured after 520 Viva Palestina activists broke down the gate at the port in El-Arish

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Wednesday January 06, 2010 08:32author by TD - Free Palestine Campaign Report this post to the editors

"We started getting pelted with stones by people in plain clothes, then the police started moving in, using tear gas and batons. People were quite severely beaten."

These are the contents of two emails from Alice Howard of Viva Palestina

6:50am UK, Wednesday January 06, 2010
James Jordan, Sky News Online
Controversial MP George Galloway has been involved in scuffles with Egyptian police as a group of pro-Palestinian activists tried to get a relief convoy into the Gaza Strip.

According to medics 55 people were injured after the 520 activists broke down the gate at the port in El-Arish to protest against an Egyptian decision to ship some of the goods through Israel.

They blocked the two entrances to the Sinai port with vehicles and clashed with police who used water cannon to control the protests.

A statement by one of the convoy leaders, Kevin Ovenden, on the Viva Palestina website said that their situation was at "crisis point", after rioting broke out in the port.

Mr Galloway said: "Together with myself and other leaders of the convoy we were in negotiations with the Egyptian authorities about their determination to remove more than 55 of our vehicles and send them to the Israeli checkpoint.

"We refused this because it is a breach of the agreement we reached in Akabar between the government of Egypt and the Turkish side and it completely unconsciounable that 25% of our convoy should go to Israel and never arrive in Gaza.

"Because nothing that ever goes to Israel, ever arrives in Gaza."

The protests were sparked by an Egyptian decision to allow 139 vehicles to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing, about 30 miles from El-Arish, but requiring a remaining 59 vehicles to pass via Israel.

Talks in which Mr Galloway and a delegation of Turkish MPs sought to change the Egyptian's minds proved unsuccessful.

The convoy of nearly 200 vehicles arrived in the Mediterranean town on Monday after a dispute with Cairo on the route.

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/George-Gall...onvoy
Gaza aid Brits 'beaten by police'

(UKPA) – 49 minutes ago

British members of a humanitarian convoy trying to take aid to Gaza were among dozens of people injured during clashes with Egyptian police.

Around 520 people were travelling with the 150 trucks full of supplies when clashes broke out Tuesday night at the port city of El Arish, near Gaza.

One of the members, Alexandra Lort-Phillips, 37, who works for Enfield Youth Offending Service in north London, said: "I have 42 people in my team, and out of those three Britons have been injured. There are head injuries, cuts.

"We started getting pelted with stones by people in plain clothes, then the police started moving in, using tear gas and batons. People were quite severely beaten."

She said seven or eight of the convoy members had to be treated in hospital, and blamed "heavy-handed" policing of their group.

Protests reportedly broke out when Egyptian authorities at El Arish ordered some lorries to use an Israeli-controlled checkpoint.

The activists would prefer the goods to be transported via Egypt's Rafah crossing.

British MP George Galloway, leading the convoy, said Israel is likely to prevent it entering Gaza.

He told Sky News: "It is completely unconscionable that 25% of our convoy should go to Israel and never arrive in Gaza."

Earlier this week convoy members staged noisy protests after Egyptian officials took away their passports and there was a lengthy delay in giving them back.

Copyright © 2010 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5...fBqvw
---------------------
Alice Howard
Viva Palestina UK - Administration Manager
Tel: 07944 512 469
Email: alice@vivapalestina.org
Website: http://www.vivapalestina.org/

author by TD - FPCpublication date Wed Jan 06, 2010 10:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The video is available for viewing on Press TV's homepage.

Related Link: http://www.presstv.ir/
author by Fintan Lane - IPSCpublication date Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Last night's riot saw a plain-clothes mob armed with stones attack the convoy. They were backed up by 2,000 riot police who used tear gas and water cannons.

There are reports of 55 convoy members receiving injuries - mostly cuts and bruises - and 6 were arrested, reportedly for filming the violence.

The Egyptians had walked away from the negotiations because they want 55 vehicles - around a quarter of the convoy - to pass into Gaza through an Israeli-controlled checkpoint. Of course, this would mean those vehicles would never reach Gaza.

Although the Egyptian authorities had agreed that all of these vehicles could cross at Rafah, Viva Palestina will now have to concede to this demand in order to secure the release of the six arrested members. The 55 vehicles will be taken back to Turkey and given to Palestinians in refugee camps there. Of the 55 vehicles, 43 were brought by Americans at the request of Palestinian doctors. The rest are pick-up trucks and 4x4 vehicles.

George Galloway has just announced that the convoy will now proceed to Gaza. If everything goes to plan, Viva Palestina should reach its destination later today a month after leaving Britain.

Press TV report:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7liJ9HI9MIM

Latest updates from the convoy members:
http://twitter.com/garethn/viva-palestina

Report on the violence last night:
http://www.paltelegraph.com/world/middle-east/77-middle...onvoy

 
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