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Gaza Freedom March: Ragini Kistnasamy`s diary Day 3


Tuesday 29 December, 2009, Cairo

Pressure to let us go to Gaza continues

Sit-in in front of the French Embassy continues on the 3rd day

Today, Gaza Freedom March organisers sent a letter to Mrs. Mubarak, wife of President Mubarak responsible for organising humanitarian aid in Egypt so that humanitarian convoys and delegates can cross the border to Gaza.

85 year-old grandmother, Hedy Epstein, and holocaust survivor goes on hunger strike.
85 year-old grandmother, Hedy Epstein, and holocaust survivor has gone on a hunger strike to call on the Egyptian government to lift the ban on crossing the Rafah border into Gaza.

Police repression in front of the US Embassy
A delegation of Americans and other countries demonstrators demonstrated in front of the US Embassy. I was amongst them.
The police detained 30 demonstrators inside the Embassy courtyard at the first checkpoint. I counted at least 3 chekckpoints. Then RIOT police organised into two cordons and blocked off all vehicles. This is how people in Cairo get to see what is happening.
Some of us decided not to get into the courtyard, but to stay outside. The police became violent when we started chanting "Free Gaza" and "Break the Siege on Gaza". There were 9 of us, and we sat down arm-in-arm in front of the Embassy. The police detained us there from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm. Some US delegates demanded the right for an Embassy Official to receive them. They wanted, as US citizens, to denounce the role of the US government in the situation in Palestine and Gaza.

Solidarity demonstration and "Grandmothers Hunger Strike"in front of the Journalist Syndicate
At midday, I went to the demonstration in front of the "Journalist Syndicate", at Abd Al-khalek Sarwat Street. There was a Gaza Freedom March demonstration together with local organisations in solidarity with the grandmothers` hunger strike that had begun.
Amongst hunger strikers is 85 year-old Heddy Epstein, who was present at the UN demonstration yesterday. (More on this on the Gaza Freedom March website

Demonstration in front of the Journalist Syndicate at 6 p.m.
At this time of the year, it is already dark before 5 p.m. The demonstration began at 6 p.m. It was organised by Egyptian organisations and they invited delegates of the Gaza Freedom March to join in. It was a very big demonstration and the police, strangely, were well-behaved. We had thought that repression would intensify when more solidarity between Egyptian organisations and international delegates became more open. But no. That didn`t happen.
Everything went extraordinarily well. There were many slogans and speeches in Arabic. .
The main point was to condemn the Egyptian decision to build a steel wall underground-up on the border between Gaza and Egypt, to condemn the Netanyahu visit, solidarity with resistance in Gaza and the West Bank and Al Kuds (Jerusalem). This was a key event for future mobilisations.

Ragini Kistnasamy
Taalat Harb, Cairo, Egypt
Translated from the original kreol version