Cairo Day 1 update
By Lee Gargagliano at Dec 28, 2009
There's a lot going on around Cairo and Egypt more genrally, but I'm still getting my bearings. First, I learned more about the what happened with the French delegation. They arrived and prepared to board buses to the border and were prohibited from boarding by Egyptian security forces. Then they walked up the street from where they were to the French Embassy and literally lay down in the street blocking traffic for 5 hours! Then, they set up camp along the fence of the Embassy and where able to get the ambassador to come out and negotiate. As far as I know they continue to hold the space outside the Embassy and have been threatened with arrest by the Egyptian authorities.
A delegation of Italians arrived last night and were ejected from their hotel by police who did not allow them to get in taxis, so the entire delegation had to walk to another hotel with their bags.
After walking miles along the nile river in downtown Cairo, we joined another gathering in front of the UN Agencies in Cairo. There, two representatives from the Gaza Freedom March spoke to generally sympathetic people from the UN asking tha they pressure Egypt to allow the marchers in, or barring that arrange for the distribution of the humanitarian aid gathered by the marchers.
In other news there was a banner drop at the pyramids.
The degree of the Egyptian government's hostility towards Palestinians became clear to me when I read an article that quoted the foreign minister explaining the construction of a wall that extends underground to stop flow through the tunnels that act as Gaza's life line, as defending Egypt's borders against an invasion.
We spent most of the day running errands: getting a cell phone, a new bag, food, etc.