Critical new update – Freedom March also blocked

Dear all,

First of all, apologies for the flood of emails and msgs the last few days. Unfortunately things are moving very fast right now, and we’ve now found out that the Freedom March to Gaza from Egypt, is also being blocked now, as is still the convoy which has yet to be allowed to enter Egypt. Hopefully we’ll be able to send fewer messages as things calm down.

I’m forwarding below the latest update from Sam from the ‘Can you help us end the Blockade of Gaza this december?’ group that was set up in facebook (join: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=188973921044 ), which inludes the message send from Cairo from Katerina and Marie, and also a sample letter to send to politicians and Egyptian embassies, together with relevant adresses.

________________________________________________________________

Dear Friends,

Sorry to be spamming your facebook inboxes but everything is proceeding quickly right now (hopefully it will calm down soon) and we do need your help!

Firstly, Katerina and Marie are now in Cairo, they sent this message today:

***********************************************************

Dear Friends,

Marie and I are both in Cairo and have bad news.

Like Viva Palestina, our Free Gaza March has also been banned by the
Egyptian government.
There are 1300 international volunteers in Cairo, who all want to go to
Gaza. We have aid and donations that will go to waste if we stay here.

The Free Gaza March have planned the following activities for the next 2
days:
Sunday
– small protest in the centre of Cairo
– protest at the French Embassy to pressure the European Commission
– public vigil at the Nile

Monday
– we will gather at the bus station to protest against the Egyptian’s ban on
our trip
– public protest in the main square of Cairo

Consensus is that we stay united and so that 1300 people demonstrate
together in Cairo to pressure Mubarak’s government to let us go. Small
individual groups have gone and we are waiting to hear what they encounter and how they get along.

The Egyptian government has put a ban on all freedom marchers meeting in groups of more than 6 people. This is oppressive and denies us the right to stand up to the Palestinians. Please protest against the Egyptian’s decision with us. By holding us back, their oppressive regime is as responsible for
the siege as is Israel’s.

*We need your help, you demonstrate the international spectrum of all of
this. *
*http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8425232.stm*

Sample letter to Embassies & MPs:

Dear Sir, Dear Madam,

I am writing to you to urge the Egyptian government to let Code Pink’s Gaza
Freedom March continue so that 1362 international delegates can join the
Palestinians of Gaza to march together on December 31, 2009.

Currently all delegates are stuck in Cairo and have been refused the right
to move towards Gaza.

The UK government and David Miliband have openly condemned the blockade.
This is a crucial moment for the UK to use its influence as an international
player to take responsiblity and act upon behalf of peace, justice and human
rights.

The Code Pink delegates will not stand for this oppressive ban. This
indirectly endorses war crimes and the inhumanity caused by the blockade
onto the Palestinians of Gaza.

The international peace marchers have aid and are ready to deliver it.
They have
raised tens of thousands of dollars for medical aid, school supplies and
winter clothing for the children of Gaza. But we realize that in addition to
material aid, the Palestinians of Gaza need moral support. The Gaza Freedom
March offers that support on the difficult anniversary of an invasion that
brought them so much suffering.

Sincerely,

***********************************************************

EGYPTIAN CONTACTS:
-Egyptian Embassy in London
Tel: 020 7499 3304/2401
eg.emb_london@mfa.gov.eg

-Egyptian Consulate
consulate@egyptianconsulate.co.uk

POLITICIANS:
-Jeremy Corbyn (Labour MP for Islington North)
corbynj@parliament.uk
Office phone:
020 7561 7488

-Clare Short (Independent MP for Birmingham Ladywood)
shortc@parliament.uk
020 7219 4264/4148

-David Miliband (Foreign Secretary/Labour MP for South Shields)
milibandd@parliament.uk
(0191) 456 8910

-Foreign & Commonwealth Office Ministerial support team email address
MSU.PublicIn@fco.gov.uk

-Nick Clegg (Leader of Lib Dems, MP for Sheffield Hallam, wrote this piece in the guardian the other day http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/dec/22/lift-the-gaza-blocade-nick-clegg)
nickclegg@sheffieldhallam.org.uk
cleggn@parliament.uk

-British Embassy in Egypt
Tel: (20)(2)27916000
information.cairo@fco.gov.uk

NB that MPs are not supposed to help UK citizens who live in other constituencies, but those listed above either have shown a personal interest in Gaza (Short, Corbyn, Clegg) or are the Foreign Secretary (Miliband) so you should perhaps make it clear that this is why you are contacting them, not in their formal duties as MP.

Secondly, a reminder of the vigil outside the Israeli embassy in London tomorrow: http://www.palestinecampaign.org/index9b.asp?m_id=1&l1_id=3&l2_id=62&Content_ID=976 Please come along if you can, this could be helpful for raising awareness of the Convoy and Freedom march inside the UK, which is really something we need to do right now.

I know we are sending out lots of messages but that’s because lots of important information is coming in quickly. We *will* take it easy again when things get back on track—which we hope they will soon. Thank you for your patience!

Season’s greetings,

Sam

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