No sooner than we got the #1 VIVA PALESTINA update posted here for today, the mobile phone went off with a message from JJ updating the situation. Here's the text message as we received it:
Just arrived in Al Arish. other squad got passports back lastnight & stayed in hotel. So we're sitting waiting for luggage here and hoping for the best. We won't move till rest of convoy comesWhat he is referring to is this from Alice Howard:
My last message to all of you was that the Viva Palestina convoy members have arrived into Al-Arish and were just hours away from breaking the siege of Gaza.NOTE, last message jsut received says they are just waiting for last plane to land at Al Arish, then they will all be heading to Gaza!! fingers crossed inshallah!!
Now, I report to you that in the past hour 157 Viva Palestina convoy members passports were taken away at Al-Arish airport by the Egyptian authorities. The Egyptians also removed the passport’s of British MP George Galloway and convoy leader Kevin Ovenden.
All passports were stamped in on entry but also received an exit stamp too. The Egyptian’s wanted 157 convoy members to drive tonight to Gaza and forget about the other 400 Viva Palestina volunteers that were yet to fly into Al-Arish tonight.
Egyptian authorities say that the 400 volunteers would not be allowed entry! Convoy members started a sit down riot and refused to move or leave without their fellow convoy Brothers and Sisters!
I am now pleased to say that all passports have been returned back to their rightful owners and exit stamps have been removed – We won that battle! – Now convoy members are scouting for hotels for tonight and will return tomorrow to be reunited with all convoy members, before moving on, to pick up their vehicles and head for their final destination, Gaza!
Well as you can see that the situation is changing by the hour and I am now calling for all of you to gather at Egyptian Embassies, consulates and interests tomorrow. It will be either to shame the Egyptian government for blocking the convoy further or to celebrate Viva Palestina entering Gaza and organising further solidarity.
Viva Palestina convoy will fight all the way to deliver the aid to Gaza!