Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Today we joined the Spanish and French contingent and other internationals on a protest in Sadat square El Arish. Protesters confronted Egyptian security services plain clothes police) as they pushed to march down 23rd July Street in downtown Arish. They moved forward chanting 'Freedom for Gaza' but were blocked by police as the people of Arish looked on. Demonstrations are banned in Egypt and any Egyptian joining us would be facing severe penalties: poss 5 years imprisonment; despite that we were joined by an Egyptian gentleman, so moved he was by the passion of the protest. As the call for evening prayers went out we gathered under the foot of the statue of the assassinated Sadat. A small contingent of Egyptian troops had arrived and were nonchalantly standing beside their truck. We determined to keep the Egyptian with us and invite him to stay back at the hotel with the rest of the internationals for solidarity.