5 Jan 2010

Egyptian riot police are attacking Viva Palestina aid convoy

Just about to write 'see you in court Sir Howard' when this came through, very bad news and puts academics in the shade.

Egyptian riot police are attacking Viva Palestina aid convoy

The following official press release from Kevin Ovenden, convoy leader for Viva Palestina, was provided at 8pm.

'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!'

From the UK, please call:
Egyptian Embassy - 020 7499 3304
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office - 020 7008 1500
BBC - 03700 100 222

Since 9pm the following messages have come from convoy members on the scene, via Twitter:

'All hell has broken lose at the port. Shit flying around and police spraying and gassing. We're in the gates'
'Full-on battles between convoy boys and Egyptian riot cops. Tear gas, water cannons, rocks throwing.'
'the glass windows of the port is completely destroyed, and so are the windows of the buses'