Viva Palestina Convoy, July 12, 2009, 2:45 am Cairo
The 100 Viva Palestina humanitarian volunteers have decided to stay the night in their buses at the Mubarak Peace Bridge over the Suez Canal despite pressure from the Egyptian security officials to return to Cairo.
The official reason given at the checkpoint for refusing to allow them to cross is that the officials there did not have a list of the names of the members of the convoy. Such a list was, however, at the request of the Egyptian authorities before any of the convoy members set foot in Egypt sent to the Egyptian ambassadors to Washington, D.C., and London.
The US Embassy in Cairo has now stepped in to forward a newly provided list of those convoy members aboard the buses at the bridge to the Egyptian foreign ministry to clear the way for the convoy's passage.
Nancy Mansour Leigh, a spokeswoman for the Viva Palestina delegation at the Suez crossing, says, "It's going to be an uncomfortable night, but it's nothing compared with what the people of Gaza must live through every day. We've already succeeded in securing internet access and are negotiating other necessary facilities. But whatever facilities are provided or not, our determination will see us through the night and all the way to Gaza."
New York City Councilman Charles Barron is on the scene at the Suez Canal and acting as chief negotiator with Egyptian security officials. "The Viva Palestina movement has had a great success this morning with our stand at the Suez crossing. We've now got an agreement for us to stay until the list of our convoy members reaches the foreign ministry. It shows what can be achieved with the determination and commitment of a collective body of people. We are determined to cross onto Gaza, and no matter what happens next, out of this first small confrontation, we've achieved a success for the movement in support of the Palestinian people. The convoy is going to
move on, and we ain't gonna let nobody turn us around."
British Member of Parliament George Galloway offered these words of encouragement for the delegation being held up at the crossing: "This is an American convoy. And Americans are used to refusing to give up seats on buses in the struggle for justice. I regard everyone who's putting themselves on the line tonight at the Suez Canal for the success of this humanitarian mission as nothing short of a hero."
Viva Palestina coordinator
For more updates, visit www.VivaPalestina-US.org.