Egyptian Authorities Stop Gaza Freedom March From Leaving Cairo

Dec 28- Cairo: At dawn today, hundreds of people from around the world were set to depart from Cairo, Egypt for Gaza to participate in the Gaza Freedom March – protesting on the one-year anniversary of Israel’s massacre in Gaza, and demanding an end to the ongoing state of siege that is killing the people of Gaza.

After Egyptian authorities forced the original bus company to refuse to take us to Al Arish, near the Egypt-Gaza border, march organizers chartered other buses to take us to the area as tourists. Again, Egyptian security forces intimidated the bus company into not sending buses. Egyptian police also shut down the rendezvous point in central Cairo -- there was a wild scene as they chased off taxis attempting to drop off delegates, while activists attempted to make it possible for passengers to arrive.

TOP photo: Egyptian security forces attack activists from Code Pink (upper left corner of photo), and chase off taxis attempting to drop people off. (bottom right of photo). MIDDLE photos: Delegates to the Gaza Freedom March, penned in by police, reach out to the people of Cairo: "Let Us Go to Gaza!... Free Gaza!" BOTTOM: Protest at the UN in Cairo later in the day where Hedy Epstein, an 85 year old Holocaust survivor and others began a hunger strike today as a response to the Egyptian government’s refusal to allow the Gaza Freedom March participants into Gaza.
Those who were able to make their way to the rendezvous point were cordoned in behind police barricades for a couple of hours, before being allowed to leave. They unfurled banners in English and Arabic saying "Let Us Go To Gaza," and "Free Gaza." For two hours, internationals - as many call themselves, from Japan, the US, England, Europe and elsewhere sang and chanted in English and Arabic, and were joined by a number of Egyptians -- a new development as up to now, the organizers of the march had acceded to demands of the Egyptian government to not involve Egyptian citizens in Gaza Freedom March activities in Cairo. 
For two hours, this major scene in the middle of Cairo connected with people going to work in Cairo.
People are regrouping, discussing plans, reaching out more to the people of Cairo, and taking heart from a sit-in outside the French embassy by hundreds of French people who are in Cairo attempting to get to the Gaza Freedom March.  I have met  internationals from around the world and will be sharing their stories, and reporting on the next moves...
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Later in the day...

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Keep it up, we are following your updates. Do people think that if they listen to the egyptian police order to not go into the city, they will have more of a basis to get into Gaza? Doubtful. The only way to build resistance is by GOING TO THE PEOPLE!