Sunday, May 15, 2011

Egyptian convoy bound for Rafah banned

Egypt’s ruling military council has forbidden solidarity convoys aiming to reach Rafah ahead of the Palestinian Nakba Day on Sunday

 Salma Shukrallah, Al Ahram Online,  Saturday 14 May 2011
Hundreds of enthusiastic Egyptian young men were prevented from going to Gaza
 As planned, hundreds gathered on Saturday in Tahrir Square with the aim of heading to the Egypt-Gaza border at Rafah. However, organisers say, the ruling military council ordered tourism offices not to send the buses rented as transport for the convoy as it set a ban on all journeys to the border.
Starting 9am, several hundred stood in Tahrir Square waving Palestinian and Egyptian flags, hoping to march towards Gaza to stage a sit-in on Sunday, 15 May, which marks the Palestinian Nakba Day, or day of catastrophe, in reference to the founding of Israel in May 1948. The convoy was not able to leave Cairo.

May Shahin, one of the organisers of the convoy, said “We have been preparing for this for the past month and a half now. We wanted to have a convoy in memory of the Palestinian Nakba. It was supposed to be a mass march towards Palestine. After realising that entering Gaza might be a risk for the Palestinians, we decided to head only to the Rafah border. We were surprised, then, to know that all tourism offices refused to rent buses to reach Rafah and canceled our contract. They told us that this was an order from the ruling military council. Under the Mubarak regime we were able to organise a convoy from Cairo to reach Rafah. Now, after the revolution, we are banned.”

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