Despite being attacked by Egyptian riot police at the port of Al Arish last night, the 'strong willed' convoy of humanitarians from all over the world carrying much needed medical aid to the people of Gaza went ahead and was greeted with cheers from hundreds of well-wishers carrying flowers, warm smiles and chanting Viva Palestina!
Having agreed to Egyptian demands, the convoy of 500 people re-routed their journey from Aqaba in Jordan (some seven days ago), after receiving guarantees of a safe passage to Gaza. The recent actions of the Egyptian police are shameful.
Earlier today at the Rafah border violence broke out as hundreds of Palestinians began throwing stones across the border at Egyptian security forces, who then fired back at the protesters. This was in retaliation to the way the activists were treated by Egyptian police.
Viva Palestina convoy leader Kevin Ovenden says - We are all emotional to see that all of Gaza are out to greet us! - Our Viva Palestina convoy is symbolic! It shows the Palestianian people just how much the people of the West do care. We come in peace to deliver humanitarian aid and we hope that our convoy (and convoy's like ours) will help to build pressure on the Israeli government to break the siege. The convoy aimed to cross the Rafah border into Gaza on 27 December 2009, to mark the first anniversary of the beginning of Israel's 2008/9 land and air assault on Gaza, which killed 1,400 Palestinians in three weeks.
The Viva Palestina convoy is partnered with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and departed London on December 6 2009 and have travelled nearly 5,000 miles. The convoy has received a phenomenal support (since departing London), through it's route, Europe, Turkey, Syria and Jordan. For further information on the Viva Palestina Gaza Aid Convoy visit www.vivapalestina.org