Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

Egypt denies US rights activists entry to Gaza

29 December 2009

By DPA, Haaretz – 29 Dec 2009

Egyptian security forces on Tuesday prevented dozens of American activists from reaching the U.S. embassy in Cairo, where they hoped to ask the ambassador to help them reach the Gaza Strip.

Riot police surrounded 41 U.S. citizens and one Egyptian trying to reach the coastal strip to protest Egypt and Israel’s blockade of the territory, preventing them from approaching the embassy.

The police stopped the activists on a side street near the embassy and kept them there for hours, before allowing them to see consular officials in groups of 10 at a time.

“We have three people inside the embassy right now. We believe the U.S. embassy asked Egyptian state security to act against its own citizens and prevent them from entering the Embassy,” Gael Murphy, one of the activists, told the German Press Agency dpa.

“We are outraged as U.S. citizens about being detained simply for trying to get to our embassy,” she said.

U.S. embassy spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment.

Organizers of the Gaza Freedom March say 1,300 people from around the world came to Egypt to try to enter Gaza to deliver aid and to participate in a peaceful march protesting the closure of the Gaza Strip’s borders.

Since the activists were told last month that they would not be able to march on Gaza, they have staged a series of small protests around Cairo.

U.S. citizen Hedy Epstein, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, on Monday said she would go on hunger strike to protest Egypt’s refusal to allow the march to proceed.

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