Viva Palestina: More Than 10 Injured, Seven Arrested, Including A Malaysian

6 January 2010

EL-ARISH PORT, Jan 6 (Bernama) — More than 10 members of the Viva Palestina convoy were injured, four of them seriously, and seven members arrested by Egyptian police during a protest here Tuesday at 11.40pm local time.

Among those arrested was a Malaysian, Ibrahim Mohd Azmi, a University of Bristol medical student who was a convoy volunteer.

The protest was staged by Viva Palestina convoy members to protest against the decision by the Eqyptian government to bar 59 convoy vehicles from leaving here for Gaza.

Egyptian police acted strongly against the convoy members three hours after the protest was staged at the entry and exit security point at this port.

Four members were seriously injured and had to be taken to hospital for further treatment.

More than 10 members sustained light injuries due to thrown rocks and tear gas.

Also arrested were three Britons, two Americans and a Kuwaiti.

According to witnesses, the incident was provoked by agents provocateurs of the Egyptian government.

Earlier, the convoy members had gathered and formed a human wall to protest against the decision to disallow the 59 vehicles from leaving the port.

The Egyptians deployed 189 anti-riot personnel equipped with water cannon and tear gas.

According to Viva Palestina leader George Galloway, there are negotiations at the highest level by Turkish authorities with the Egyptian government including for the release of all those detained.

At the time of this report at 4.10am local time, the situation was calm although observation and enclosure was still on by the Egyptian authorities.

The Viva Palestina Convoy is made up of 450 people from various countries with 220 vehicles in a mission to send humanitarian aid like food, medicines and school equipment worth more than US$1 million to Palestinians in Gaza.

The mission began in London on Dec 9 last year and has moved through various places in Turkey, Syria and Jordan.

The convoy was supposed to arrive in Gaza on Dec 27 but was held up by the Egyptian government which refused to allow use of the port of Nuweiba for entry to Rafah before arriving in Gaza.

As a result, they had to return to Syria to find another way to reach Rafah to go into Gaza.